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 Police officer's gun fired accidentally on school
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Senior Member

69 Posts

Posted - 05/13/2013 :  4:47:42 PM  Show Profile  Visit 05ICCE's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Story in our local paper. Next city north of me.

A Winchester police officer's gun fired accidentally into the floor of a school bus Monday morning after one of the juvenile passengers allegedly reached into the officer's holster with his finger, law enforcement officials said.

No one was injured among the officer and four students, bus driver, and bus aide reported on board at the time of the incident.

Police said the incident began with a call at 8:34 a.m. from a Winchester Public School official about a disorderly juvenile on a bus reserved for special needs students.

An officer arrived at the scene, calmed the student and remained on board with the student as the bus continued its route, police stated. In the meantime, the student, who was sitting next to the officer, reached into the officer's holster with his finger and caused the gun to fire accidentally, according to police department officials.

Police said the students were dropped off at Daniel Morgan Middle School following the incident.

The incident is under review in accordance with department policy, police said.

Lauren Cummings, police community relations specialist with the department, said in an interview that investigators suspect a problem with the officer's holster may have allowed the student to get his finger on the gun's trigger. Cummings said the holster is a new model issued to officers about six months ago.

"We will be replacing the holsters effective immediately and reissuing the old holsters back in circulation and reaching out to the manufacturer to see if they've encountered any incident in which the holster malfunctioned," Cummings said.

"Certainly no one should be able to get their hand into an officer's holster and discharge a firearm," Cummings added.

Cummings said the officer has been placed on administrative leave while the department investigates the incident further. The department is not releasing his name at this time.

Kevin McKew, executive director of Winchester Public Schools, said students on the bus received counseling from the Daniel Morgan Middle School staff after reaching the school. McKew said school officials contacted parents, and the students who witnessed the incident completed their school day in a normal manner.

"The student involved in the incident was taken to Daniel Morgan and released to his parents, McKew said, adding, "his status will be determined through the disciplinary process of the school system."

Cummings said the officer's gun has a safety switch on the trigger, unlike more traditional firearms designs. For that reason, the student was able to get his finger on the safety and switch it off while pulling the trigger, she said.

Cummings said she was unsure why the student reached for the gun, but there was no conflict between him and the officer, despite the earlier report of unruliness that led police to be called.

"There was no confrontation going on," she said. "The situation had been deescalated, and they were riding to school."

Cummings said the initial report of a disorderly juvenile on the bus stemmed from accusations that the student was interfering with the driver.

"The child was on the school bus and out of control," Cummings said. "He was attempting to unbuckle the driver and pull the radio out of the driver's hand. The driver pulled over and our officer responded to the scene and was able to help calm the student at the time."

Cummings said the gun never left the officer's holster during the incident. She said the shot traveled through the seat where the officer and student were sitting. The bullet hit the floor but did not penetrate it, she said.

Cummings said the bus came to a stop at the intersection of Cork Street and Shenandoah Avenue at 8:52 a.m. immediately after the incident.

"A number of people responded to the scene from the school and the police department," she said.

The department has not taken any other calls requiring officers to respond to unruly students on school buses in the last year, she said.

Active Member

48 Posts

Posted - 05/16/2013 :  6:07:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That's why a thumb safety mechanism is a good idea. Good thing my foot wasn't under that seat. Of course, I wonder how the child "suspect" was able to get that close without being noticed. Sounds like somebody wasn't paying attention, and if he wasn't paying attention, he should have switched seats to sit next to somebody else or alone. I never ride sitting next to someone I can't trust when carrying anything valuable that I don't want touched or stolen.
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Senior Member

69 Posts

Posted - 05/18/2013 :  1:41:43 PM  Show Profile  Visit 05ICCE's Homepage  Reply with Quote

A Winchester police officer whose gun discharged on a school bus Monday as he sat next to a special needs student is back on duty, department officials said Wednesday.

Lauren Cummings, police community relations specialist, said investigators have determined the gun fired accidentally through no fault of the officer. He had been placed on paid administrative leave and returned to duty Tuesday.

"I think it's safe to say this type of incident was unforeseen," Cummings said, adding, "it was determined that the officer had done everything right."

None of those on board the bus - the officer, bus driver, bus aide, and four special needs students - were injured in the incident.

Police say the officer was summoned at 8:34 a.m. to help the bus driver after school officials reported an unruly student on board who was trying to unbuckle the driver and pull the radio out of the driver's hand.

The officer boarded the bus, calmed down the disruptive student and was accompanying him to his destination at Daniel Morgan Middle School when the gun went off. Police say the student and officer were seated next to each other when the student reached into the officer's holster and squeezed the trigger with his finger. The gun discharged through a seat and into the floor, according to police.

Cummings said police are continuing to review the design and operation of the holster, a new model given to all officers about six months ago.

The holster was withdrawn after Monday's incident and replaced with the department's older holsters while the review continues.

Department officials have contacted the holster's manufacturer as part of their review. They have refused to disclose the manufacturer's name or the model of the gun discharged, citing concerns about officer safety.

Cummings confirmed that one officer had previously been concerned about someone being able to reach a finger into the holster too easily, the same issue raised by the school bus discharge.

"That concern was brought up when the new holsters were issued," Cummings said. "That concern was reviewed, and the officers' safety was reviewed, and the holsters were kept in place after that evaluation."

Cummings added: "It's hard to find any new pieces of equipment in any industry that is not called into question by someone."

Cummings said officers probably willl receive more training in using the new holster if department officials decide to reintroduce it.

Mr. Scott, "because he drives a COOL BUS"
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