crew fired a homemade cannon toward huge containers of water at the Alameda County Sheriff's Department bomb disposal range.
The cantaloupe-sized cannonball missed the water, tore through a cinder-block wall, skipped off a hillside and flew some 700 yards east, right into the Tassajara Creek neighborhood, where children were returning home from school at 4:15 p.m., authorities said.
There, the 6-inch projectile bounced in front of a home on quiet Cassata Place, ripped through the front door, raced up the stairs and blasted through a bedroom, where a man, woman and child slept through it all - only awakening because of plaster dust.
The ball wasn't done bouncing.
It exited the house, leaving a perfectly round hole in the stucco, crossed six-lane Tassajara Road, took out several tiles from the roof of a home on Bellevue Circle and finally slammed into the Gill family's beige Toyota Sienna minivan in a driveway on Springvale Drive.
That's where Jasbir Gill, 42, who had pulled up 10 minutes earlier with his 13-year-old son, Manvir, found the ball on the floorboards, with glass everywhere and an obliterated dashboard.
"It's shocking - anything could have happened," Gill said after the van had been taken away as evidence, along with the cannonball.
"Crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy," said Sgt. J.D. Nelson, a spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff's Department. "You wouldn't think it was possible."
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