“[Maine State Police Lieutenant Shawn] Currie was attending the training at the agency’s former headquarters at 36 Hospital St. when his gun belt reportedly rode up, according to a synopsis of the incident that the Bangor Daily News obtained Friday after submitting a request under the Freedom of Access Act. The gun belt ‘was causing discomfort to his hip so he pushed down on the back of the grip with an open palm after extending his right leg out in front of him. He stated that as he pushed on the back of the grip, his handgun discharged,’ Maj. Gary Wright of Maine State Police Operations wrote in his incident review report.” His handgun discharged, eh? Naughty handgun! Fortunately . . .
While no one was injured, the discharged round of ammunition ricocheted off the floor and struck Trooper Shane Northrup, who also was attending the training session, in the back of the leg, Wright wrote. Currie suffered a small powder burn on his right leg from the discharge and Northrup had a small red mark on his right leg from the ricochet, he noted.
Seems Trooper Northrop wasn’t too pleased with the sudden turn of events in computer class. According to the report, he took charge of the weapon belonging to the Commander of Troop K, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement:
Northrup removed the magazine from Currie’s firearm, an HK .45-caliber handgun, and then removed the gun from the retention holster it was secured in, the report states. Currie reported the incident to Motor Carrier Supervisor James Wright, who also was attending the training, and to Sgt. William Keith, the agency’s primary firearms instructor.
An HK .45 in a retention holster that discharges when you adjust your gun belt, press down in the grip and stretch your legs. Riiiight. Well at least the Pine Tree State state po-po waited, what, ten minutes before giving Currie another gun. No seriously.
After a cursory safety inspection and function check, Currie’s gun and holster were secured in the state police armory and he was issued replacements. Currie was advised to prepare a memo documenting the incident, which he did, the report shows.
The Maine State Police’s primary firearms instructor Sgt. William Keith did extensive tests on the gun and holster and noted that “the HK45 was not capable of firing without the trigger being drawn to the rear.” Much like, I dunno, any gun.
Which of course meant the end-of-the-line for Currie’s career in law enforcement. No more safeguarding truckers hauling nuclear waste and spent fuel. Oh wait . . .
“The report was reviewed with Lt. Currie and discussed with him and he was apprised of the findings,” [Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen] McCausland said Friday. “There was no disciplinary action.”
Luckily, the lack of career or legal blowback for a falsely reported negligent discharge does not disqualify Currie for TTAG’s Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day trophy. He may have dodged a bullet both literally and symbolically but we’ve got him here. Permanently.