We haven’t done one of these in a while, mostly because new people are still just having the same old accidents. So what’s the point?
But every once in a while we feel tempted to mention a few, because they’re typical, or galactically stupid, or just plain heartbreaking.
An awful lot of these negligent discharges seem to happen to cops. Recently when we looked at the LA County Sheriff’s Office, we saw that they were remarkably blasé about 10 to 30 reported ND’s a year, and they don’t report an ND when it’s within hailing distance of a clearing barrel, unless the round hits somebody. You have to wonder if those curious bullet holes we see in the overhead target tracks at the Indoor Range are the result of mere yahoos, or yahoos with badges?
As far as we can tell, the principal difference is, yahoos without badges get in trouble if they hit somebody. With badges, they’re immunized.
But they’re still yahoos. LEO readers, Don’t Be That Guy
19 Aug 15: Cop Shot Himself, Tried to Frame a Black Guy
A Durham, NC officer named Kelly Stewart pulled over a guy for DWB. You may remember the stumblebums of the Durham PD from their attempt to frame the Duke lacrosse team. Turns out, they’re not any better at gun handling.
…Stewart accidentally shot himself in the leg with his firearm. Soon after, the police department logged the gun’s discharge: “1 shot fired by officer.”
After firing the shot, Stewart dropped his gun in the motorist’s car. Convinced he’d just escaped summary execution, the driver took off.
Crooked DA Roger Echols hid that report and most other evidence, and charged the motorist with shooting Stewart with his own gun. When it became clear the “suspect” had a good lawyer, Echols tried to get the attorney thrown off. The motorist was acquitted on the charge of shooting the cop who shot himself in August.
However, the motorist blew it when he drove off with the panicky cop’s gun in his car. For that, he was convicted of robbery, and the Feds charged him with felon-in-possession for that gun on his car’s floor.
Meanwhile, Stewart, and other cops trained as badly as he, are what you get when you call 911 in Durham. Good luck.
24 Sep 15: NYC Court Officer Shoots Himself in Hand
The Daily News:
A state court officer shot himself in the hand Wednesday when his gun accidentally discharged in a Manhattan courtroom, officials said.
The officer, who is in his late 50s, had removed the weapon from its holster in the civil courthouse at 111 Centre St. when the weapon unintentionally fired, said Dennis Quirk, the president of the New York State Court Officers Association.
Gotta love that. “His gun accidentally discharged.” And “the weapon unintentionally fired.” What, now God has reached out His mighty finger and imbued these creations of ore and polymers with the spirit of life, not to mention, free will? Do the guns have minds of their own?
Maybe they do. In this case, the cop didn’t seem to have one of his own. Don’t be that guy.
The 57-year-old Grandville man, Terry Apol, was the passenger of the golf cart at 6660 20 Mile Rd. The golf cart was driven with a gun being carried on the back of the golf cart.
While driving the cart through a field, the gun went off. The shot hit Apol in the upper left arm.
“The gun went off.” Unexpectedly, eh.
Wow: this appears to be that rare case where the gun did “just go off,” that is, after being dropped. (Many older guns are not drop-safe). Sherman Jumper, 70 was a retired captain in the East St. Louis, IL, Police Department.
Swansea police said the incident happened Wednesday in Jumper’s garage. He was carrying a bag with a loaded gun in it. He reportedly dropped the bag and the gun fired, killing him.
There are precautions that would have prevented this. Is not safe, is gun, but there’s a lot to be said for keeping it one of only two states: in a holster, loaded, or in a case or safe, cleared.
Autumn Steele absorbs a mortal wound on officer’s body cam. He testified he had fallen and was flat on his back when he fired.
In this case, the Burlington, IA police department used the, “bleep had it coming” defense to explain why officer Jesse Hill, supposedly firing at a dog, instead killed an angry woman during a domestic dispute, narrowly missing her 3-year-old. The police and prosecutors ruled in days, perhaps in minutes, that it was a good shooting, and have ever since suppressed all records of the shooting except for a few seconds of edited video.
After Hill shot Steele, he and other responding cops let her bleed out, only attempting to treat her with chest compressions after she’d stopped breathing. Her husband, a combat vet with Combat Life Saver training, was held back.
Hill has a history with dogs, having tased two of them in the past. He may have an unnatural fear of the animals.
Des Moines County Attorney Amy K. Beavers wrote in a hastily-assembled whitewash that Hill’s negligent shooting of an unintended human target, fatally to the human, was “reasonable.”
The story reached even to New York, where the Daily News wrote:
Hill was responding to a disturbance on Jan. 6 when he found Steele in front of her house hitting her husband, police said. The 34-year-old mom spent the previous night in jail after being arrested on domestic abuse charges, the Des Moines Register reported.
The cop fired his gun when the family’s German Shepherd, Sammy, pounced on his back and bit him, police said. The bullets hit Steele instead of the attacking dog, police said.
According to the animal control board, the dog was upset and agitated (as were the humans) but the full video shows that it didn’t attack Hill. (They found the dog Not Guilty and returned him to his surviving family members). Hill also had no bite wounds. In fact, even in the short, edited clip released by Hill’s defenders, the dog is visible in front of him moments before he opens fire into the woman right in front of him, but supposedly on the dog that supposedly was on his back. (Some news stories said the dog had a non-life-threatening GSW).
Hill (left) and Burlington officials, have since changed their story, and now say that he slipped and fell and that’s why he fired into Steele at near-contact range. An Iowa public records board has filed suit against the agencies standing between Hill and accountability. (This is a separate action from any the family pursues for damages; this is about transparency).
For Hill, there were no consequences, at least, no negative consequences. Burlington Police Chief L.D. Beaird gave him seven weeks of extra vacation as a reward; he returned to duty a month after the whitewash absolved him of any criminal charges.
Since then, Hill has still been stumbling around Burlington with –by his own account and by the reading of the evidence most favorable to him — a gun he can’t handle safely. Call 911 in Burlington, Iowa, and that’s what you get.
That’s a real confidence builder.
Exit thought: you should probably comport yourself during break-ups in such a manner that (1) Officer Friendly needn’t drop by; (2) if he does, he leaves his hogleg in the holster; and (3) your dog doesn’t get all amped up. If Hill hadn’t been negligent, Steele wouldn’t be dead, but if Steele had be in control of herself, the situation would have never reached the point where Hill thought he had to draw.
For More Information:
Probably shouldn’t have done that. Bet he thinks so, too. Now.
Is it just us, or does this story remind you of a famous TV policeman who “meant well, but…”
Lucky for him, he didn’t hit anybody and it doesn’t appear the Des Moines PD is taking any action on this, or even taking it seriously. However, they do deserve credit for releasing his name. Most departments don’t do that.
23 Dec 15, Poway, CA. Man wounded in San Diego County gun range accident.
There are several clear safety violations in this, another “dropped gun went off” incident.
A 12-year-old boy was target shooting with a .22-caliber rifle when he was burned by a hot bullet casing and dropped the weapon.
When the rifle hit the ground, it fired and the bullet struck a man in the leg.
You could supervise youth shooters better (this is hard to do on a busy commercial range as the RO. It’s really the responsibility of the kid’s adult). You could warn shooters about the fact that a hot case is painful and uncomfortable, but it won’t kill you, whereas muzzle control is an iron law. You could look into whether your guns are drop-safe.
Or you can just put it down to a freak accident of no relevance to you, which is what most people who hear about this will do. (We hear about similar accidents on outdoor ranges with bee or hornet stings). But in our opinion, half the trick to handling an unexpected situation is having expected, or at least thought through, the situation before it presents itself.
The various “reverends” and “community leaders” are going to be in the news over this one:
A Chicago police officer responding to a domestic disturbance call Saturday accidentally shot and killed a 55-year-old woman, who was among two people fatally wounded,
It’s not entirely clear what happened, but it appears that family members called 911 because their son, home from college, was acting crazy and swinging an aluminum baseball bat. The police arrived and fired a barrage of shots, hitting him 7 times and the lady in the downstairs apartment, in a case of manic disregard for backstop, once. The PD is lawyered up and not naming the officers, saying how many shots they fired, or even saying what race they are, the first question the reporter from the AP had (raaaaacist!). The two responding officers have been given 30 days’ vacation and need only make a statement on their return, after working with union lawyers to work up the best possible story.
Meanwhile, embattled mayor Rahm Emanuel took the opportunity to bash the police, again.
The cops have reacted predictably, going into “fetal mode.” December, 2014 saw 6,700 arrests, and December ’15 only 2,000. Meanwhile Chicago is likely to break 500 murders (most, but not all, by gunfire) and 3,000 criminal shootings for 2015 — it’s at 497 at this writing. And the press is wound up about the 5 or 6 people — all, apparently, except this one lady, career criminals — who are shot by cops in a year, not the 3,000 that get nailed by crims.
If you did this, you’d be in big trouble. And you’d deserve it.
The husband and wife were home sleeping when the relative, a woman who also lives at the residence, came home unexpectedly, [police spox Officer Aaron] Patty said.
The pair went to see what was going on and in the process shot the woman multiple times, he said.
But the lady of the couple that shot the living daylights out of their own relative is a cop, so despite the fact that she and her husband negligently opened fire on an unknown target, and despite the fact that (fortunately for the relative, who survived) neither one of them has minimal marksmanship skills, nothing’s going to happen to her. She’s going to get some extra vacation and then will be back on the streets of LV, threatening the lives of all citizens with her bad judgment and marksmanship.
Maybe the LVPD just doesn’t aspire to any higher standard than this. Could be.