(courtesy newsdaytonabeach.com)

“Edgewater Florida police officer Timothy] Huggins and another officer responded to 1924 Kumquat Drive at 8:20 p.m. Tuesday to check on the well-being of residents at the home after a call received from Hillsborough County,” news-journalonline.com reports. “Authorities there said a man called from the Kumquat home and said he had a hostage. The hostage call was a hoax, Mahoney said. The discharge of the firearm occurred as Huggins and a sergeant were escorting Daniel Mease, 25, a Marine veteran, to his car to get identification to verify his name he had given police, a report said.” Click here to read more on the incident. Anyway, an official investigation followed . . .

According to a statement released Wednesday, the AR-15 carried by Officer Timothy Huggins was discharged by a key ring attached to Huggins’ duty belt when it became lodged inside the trigger guard of the rifle.

“We had the officer come in and simulated his actions as they occurred that night at the scene,” Edgewater police Capt. Joe Mahoney said.

Although the report of the findings is not ready, officials are confident the key ring was the cause of the discharge, Mahoney said.

“Were pretty much certain that the key ring was the only thing that could have caused it,” Mahoney said.

As a result of the accidental discharge of the AR-15, officers are no longer permitted to wear key rings on the exterior of their uniforms, Mahoney said.

And there I was thinking that all AR-15s have a thing called a safety. A device that helps prevent a negligent discharge, no matter what gets in the trigger guard (although nothing should get in the trigger guard save a trigger finger at the appropriate time). And that the only time to turn off that safety is when shit gets real. And when the excrement goes back to fantasy mode, one should re-engage that safety.

Was the situation dire enough to require the gun be made ready to run? Not from the way it was described. So I’m getting out ye olde IGOTD hardware. One, for Officer Huggins failing to keep his jangly things away from his rifle’s trigger and two, for not being safe with the firearm’s safety. Am I wrong?

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34 Responses to Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day: Officer Timothy Huggins

  1. There was no reason for the safety to be disengaged. If the rifle is being carried in a ready position and the officer needs to engage, there is plenty of time to flick the safety to the firing position as they are bringing the weapon to bear. If department protocol allows for the carrying of the weapon with safety disengaged even when things aren’t “getting real,” then protocol needs to be changed.

    • Or why not carry with the safety disengaged and no round in the chamber?. That way all you have to do is pull back the charging handle and address the threat. Might not be suitable for all incidents but better than running around hyperventilating with a condition zero rifle in your hands.

  2. Police can never win (is that the right word?) an IGOTD because cops are the only ones qualified to handle firearms.

    Anyway, I hope that Officer Krupke Huggins enjoys his two week paid vacation and promotion. He earned them by being a shining example of the breed.

    • The Edgewater police are a huge joke. They also go to houses and reposess cars for the company THEY run with their guns on them! (Investigator Balmer with the department owns/runs the company CRG- Google it).

  3. I’m still trying to figure out how a key ring gets inside a trigger guard in the first place.

    That would have to be some creative use of a key ring in my opinion. Safeties only work if you actually USE them. Oh well back to life.

    • I’ve seen a lot of cops that have hook for a key ring on the front of their duty belt. Most of the ones I see carry a single ring with a handcuff key on it.

  4. There’s no excuse to not have the safety engaged on an AR, unless you are about to pull the trigger of course. It was designed to be quickly flipped by your thumb without changing your grip for a reason.

  5. Do cops come up with these keychain excuses when they just pull the trigger and don’t want to get called out on it? Maybe I’m just cynical

  6. By golly! Another careless cop gets to walk for his egregious error. This is my shocked face.

    I’m sick and tired of this double standard. Haul the feckless effer up on charges! Enough is enough.

  7. Yet another failure that would be solved by my idea of allowing cops to carrying only a S&W Model 10 with two speed loaders…

    • Change “two speed loaders” to a “single cartridge in his pocket” and I might agree with you.

  8. Rifle goes to should to engage threat and safety comes off. Rifle is lowered from shoulder and safety goes back on. Start training officer “doofy” Huggins!

  9. uhh am I the only one that thinks we should start rollin cops till they puke (like generations of drill sergeants have done to generations of idiot privates) if we find their safety disengaged or maybe have a sarge ride along with each patrolman just to carry out on the spot coreections for this situation?

    • The only places you could have a sarge ride along with each patrolman would be in a big city, and their respective unions would never in a million years go for it.

  10. I can’t tell you how long I’ve been waiting for a story with both “kumquat” and “negligent discharge” in it.

    Thank you TTAG!!! Thank you!

  11. As I was reading the first few paragraphs of quoted text, I was sure the ND was with a Glock. I sure was surprised when I read AR-15.

  12. Keychains and zippers and coat hooks, oh my! The mercurial menace that is cheap hardware strikes again. Once again one of our best and brightest with a badge, well, with a badge, anyway, falls victim to a crafty fastener bent on destruction.

    If the grommets go wild, the buttons break loose, or, dear God, should the clasps come unhinged, they’ll kill us all, all of us, I say! Well, all of us who fail to handle firearms responsibly, that is.

  13. Saying it again. Spent 7 years in USAF as an SP. Worked with thousands of other SP’s during that period, and we never had an ND. The safety on an M-16 does not come off safe without help. There is absolutely no advantage to turning the safety off unless you are about to pull the trigger. This incident tells me that their entire team including trainers need much more training training and experience.

  14. Hi all,
    I am Daniel Mease, the one mentioned in this article. So far we all agree that the weapon should have been on safe and the officer mishandled his AR. What the article doesn’t tell you is that after the ND the officer quickly cleared out his weapon and put it in the trunk of a squad car. Also, how I was detained for 40 minutes while the officers looked for the expended casing. After their search for the casing with no luck they released me from the squad car and cuffs and gave me a ticket for obstructing. I have been trying to get an attorney to take my case but have had no luck. I did recover documents from the police station which shocked me. I have yet to find any qualifications for the use of his AR. Also, the AR is personally owned by Huggins and has a modified trigger. Yet the department wants to justify this officers action through a key ring.
    I served in the USMC, and have been diagnosed with PTSD since I left the Marines in 2011. I find it alarming that in Afghanistan getting shot at is justified, yet coming home I get shot at by one who is suppose to protect and serve. I have had to moved out of edgewater as this cop is still toting a gun and no action was taken against him.
    I am still trying to pursue this case and could use any help possible in doing so.

    And yes, this really did happen on Kumquat Dr.

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