Ask Joe: Was officer disciplined after gun went off accidentally?

Reported by: Joe Hart
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Updated: 6/20/2014 6:32 pm
From the Ask Joe file, one of our viewers has a question about a recent incident he heard about involving a Reno Police officer.
The viewer did not want his name used, but he asked if it is true that a Reno Police officer recently fired his gun accidentally, but was not punished for it and is still on the job?

Joe checked with Jack Campbell in the Reno City Attorney's office. Yes, there was an incident last month where an officer got out of his car during a stop, and his gun did fire accidentally, hitting the car of the suspects who had been stopped. It happened near Bernice Mathews Elementary School, close to El Rancho Drive.
No one was injured. Apparently, the officer was using a new type of gun. It's called a Kimber single-action .45, and he was not used to the way it fires.
Campbell said an internal affairs investigation was conducted, and the officer was not disciplined, but he was ordered to go back and re-do his training with the new gun.
Luckily, nobody was hurt.  Again, Internal Affairs at the Reno Police Department conducted the investigation, and they decided that no other disciplinary action was warranted since the gun went off, but did not hit anybody.
8 Comment(s)
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tomm1968 - 6/23/2014 12:44 PM
0 Votes
Again, unless the officer's weapon discharged as a result of a mechanical malfunction, he is, at best, guilty of NEGLIGENCE. Cocked and Locked is a perfectly safe way to carry, as I have done so for years. Some fool has to take the safety off to fire. The gun doesn't load itself, it doesn't disengage the safety itself, and it doesn't pull the trigger itself. OPERATOR ERROR. Negligence.

NVMirage - 6/22/2014 5:18 PM
0 Votes
I'm sure most here would be horrified to learn that the proper way to carry a Kimber 1911 is with the hammer locked back. A modern 1911 has three seperate safety mechanisms and somehow this moron managed to defeat all three. Officer Safety needs to be chained to his desk for public well being.

Kramer - 6/22/2014 4:27 PM
0 Votes
"I shot a man in Reno, just to watch 'em lie". Not really a Post, but not so darn long, and more cowboy-ish...

Speed - 6/22/2014 1:20 AM
0 Votes
I'm not familiar with this particular gun,but in the case of most revolvers,it's possible to accidentally "fan" the hammer by catching it on the steering wheel getting out of the car or catching it on the door edge while walking around the open door,etc. etc.,and if there's already a round chambered,it could fire. The fact remains that the officer should have had more training and practice with a new-to-him type of gun before carrying it on duty.

ConcernedNerd - 6/21/2014 7:13 PM
1 Vote
Can I simply ask why Reno Police Cruisers, RPD vehicles, are not equipped with cameras to corroborate an officers story as well as protect an civilians civil liberties? The townies, the ones too stupid to learn how to use a gun before going out on patrol, are the ones that don't have cameras. NHP has them and they seem to keep everyone in check, why don't the moronic noobs of the force have recordings of their stops?

ksdavishouse - 6/21/2014 2:40 PM
2 Votes
"...the officer was using a new type of gun. It's called a Kimber single-action .45, and he was not used to the way it fires." This is total B.S. excuse. Like any firearm you need to pull the trigger to fire the weapon. In a single action handgun you also have to manually engage the hammer to fire the first round. SOMEHOW, the officer either had the hammer already cocked or cocked the hammer during the traffic stop and then had to have pulled the trigger. While I have no problem with any officer placing his hand on his weapon during a traffic stop I DO have a problem with an officer having his finger on the trigger and then shooting a hole in somebody's car. If a civilian had been injured would the officer try and cover his actions by saying the individual made a suspicious move? WHY was the officer allowed to use a firearm that he was unfamiliar with? Don't the police have a requirement to prove their familiarity with the weapon and to also qualify with the weapon? If an ordinary citizen had "accidentally" discharged their firearm in an area where other people were present the police would have charged the individual with reckless endangerment. The officer should be similarly charged. WAY too many unanswered questions in this story. Maybe News 4 should investigate this further. Or, is there one law for the people and another law for the police? This entire situation smack of a police and I.A. cover-up.

tomm1968 - 6/20/2014 8:50 PM
6 Votes
Except that this was not a misfire. A misfire would mean that the weapon discharged as a result of a mechanical or ammunition malfunction. This is a case where the officer was allowed on the street with a weapon with which he was not adequately trained, resulting in an accidental discharge. I have owned this type of pistol for many years without so much as one (1) accidental discharge, including my time as a competitor in a local pistol club. I seriously doubt that one of us mere civilians would be treated so leniently.

Sprite - 6/20/2014 6:13 PM
3 Votes
It would be interesting to know the rule of law on accidental misfires and whether the same rules would apply to a civilian.

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