“An off-duty Michigan State Police trooper sustained serious injuries Saturday morning when his sidearm accidentally discharged as hundreds of people congregated on H-40 near Albert Street in preparation for the Rudyard Summerfest parade,” Michigan’s sooeveningnews.com reports. “The trooper had arrived at the event in his personal vehicle with his family and was exiting when the hammerless .357-caliber Smith and Wesson discharged. The bullet passed through the man’s upper leg and entered his calf where it remained lodged.” How that happened is a matter of conjecture. Who’s responsible seems obvious enough: the trooper. As the Afrikaners would say, ja – nir. Or, as Harry Truman would say, the buck doesn’t stop there . . .
Lt. Dave Hopper, commander of both the Sault and Newberry posts, confirmed the the injured trooper was assigned to the Sault Post.
“He was carrying a department-assigned weapon — per our orders — to always be armed,” said Hopper.
Well, that’s clear enough. The State Police order their troopers to carry whilst off-duty. So they have an obligation to both their officers and civilians to make sure that their off-duty police carry their concealed weapons responsibly. In this case, that didn’t happen. And so . . .
The Michigan State Police have announced an immediate and comprehensive review of off-duty carrying procedure, including weapon selection, handling and training. They’ll be working under the direction of the Director of the Michigan State Police.
Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue says she will do everything in her power to ensure there won’t be another concealed carry negligent discharge (ND); to prevent unintentional injury to the Troopers and the general public.
OK, I made that up. None of the cops commenting on this ND were prepared to take any responsibility for what happened. In fact, Sheriff Robert Savoie and Lt. Hopper reckon there’s nothing to see here folks. Move along.
Chippewa County Sheriff Robert Savoie [above], preparing to participate in the annual parade, said he watched the man step from his vehicle and was momentarily distracted when he heard what sounded like a firecracker.
The injured man hopped away from the vehicle clutching his leg prompting an immediate response by a large contingent of emergency personnel who had gathered to participate in the parade.
“If an accident was going to occur,” Savoie said of the apparent good fortune surrounding the circumstances, “at least you have a dozen firemen, paramedics and EMTs out there within an arm’s reach of him.”
The officer was treated at the scene and subsequently conveyed to War Memorial Hospital by Kinross Ambulance. He was later transported to Marquette General Hospital for surgery to remove the slug from his lower leg.
“This is a good officer,” said Savoie indicating there wasn’t any recklessness leading up to the discharge. “It was purely accidental.”
Lt. Hopper added that it appears as though the off-duty trooper was carrying the firearm in a trouser waistline, “tucked in his pants” and not a holster.
“He has carried it that way for probably his whole career,” said Hopper adding the department issued these hammerless guns as a second weapon.
I guess someone has to die in the Great Lake States before the Sheriff and State Police take full responsibility for their officers’ firearms safety. Meanwhile, let this be a lesson to the rest of us: make sure you carry your gun safely and responsibly. That is all.