The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting about an accident that has many across the country scratching their heads. A 24-year-old woman was killed when an off-duty officer's weapon accidently went off at a party at his house. Extending numerous apologies and condolences to the victim's family, the police department's initial investigation is shedding some light on the tragic fatal accident.
Apparently, the off-duty officer was hosting a fish fry at his house Saturday night. He had his police department-issued hand gun concealed in his waistband. The carrying of weapons when off-duty is completely up to the discretion of individual officers and not against any policy, the police chief said.
According to the preliminary investigation, the woman's hand most likely jarred or manipulated the gun while the two were dancing. The barrel's direction was disturbed and the trigger probably caught on his waistband and discharged when she hugged the officer. His particular Wesson semiautomatic .40 caliber did not have a safety switch. Though, certified firearms experts say the gun should not have gone off if it had been properly holstered.
The victim's family has several unanswered questions regarding the events of the evening; particularly why the officer felt it necessary to have a concealed handgun on his person with a bullet in the chamber at his own house party. All of the guests in attendance that night are cooperating with the investigation.
As is policy when someone is killed, the officer has been placed on desk duty. The police chief emphasized that an ongoing investigation will delve deeper in the responsibility, liability and the course of events that evening. It is possible that alcohol and negligent behavior may have contributed to the wrongful death of the young woman. It is also possible that the gun may have malfunctioned, placing liability squarely on the shoulders of the manufacturer.
Source: sfgate.com, "Detroit mom questions how daughter shot during hug," Corey Williams, July 9, 2012