A shooting accident happened last week in my old stomping grounds in Western Pennsylvania. A funeral service was held this weekend for Thomas Macri, the ranking police officer for the Borough of Bessemer, Pennsylvania. Officer Macri killed himself last week while cleaining his service pistol at home. KDKA in Pittsburgh reports that Macri accidentally shot himself “while cleaning a .40 caliber pistol at his home. Police say he was home alone at the time, but was discovered a short while later by his girlfriend.” Foul play was not suspected. An autopsy revealed that Macri suffered a gunshot wound to the lower chest area, which severed an artery, causing him to bleed to death . . .
“The type of weapon he had, could easily discharge. We’ve investigate[d] similar type incidents before,” KDKA quotes Pennsylvania State Trooper Joseph Vascetti.
None of the articles relating to Macri’s death identify the “easily discharged” pistol the chief was “cleaning,” other than its caliber. Suffice it to say, I’m confident that Trooper Vascetti’s comment is 100% correct: no matter what pistol Officer Macri was cleaning, if it was a semi-automatic, I’m positive it was easy to discharge…as long as a round was chambered, any manual safeties were disabled, and the trigger was pulled. Which also has to make you wonder if what happened was truly an accident.
Potential thin blue line obfuscation aside, as TTAG reported earlier this month, gun owners do a very good job in terms of gun safety in this country. Despite the fact that the number of firearms in private hands continues to increase, the number of unintended firearms fatalities continues to decline. Still, there’s no excuse for complacency, and Officer Macri’s death should be a warning to everyone.
As a reminder — to myself as much as anyone else — here are the late Col. Jeff Cooper’s famous four rules of firearm safety. It takes a violation of at least two of the rules to unintentionally harm someone.
RULE I: All guns are always loaded.
RULE II: Never let the muzzle cover antyhing you are not willing to destroy.
RULE III: Keep your finger off the trigger until the sights are on target.
RULE IV: Be sure of your target.
Stay safe out there.
DISCLAIMER: The above is an opinion piece; it is not legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship in any sense. If you need legal advice in any matter, you are strongly urged to hire and consult your own counsel. This post is entirely my own, and does not represent the positions, opinions, or strategies of my firm or clients.