Here’s a typical lede to a type of story we’ve read dozens of times before: “Investigators are trying to determine why a Bainbridge Island police officer’s rifle inadvertently fired last month inside the Clearwater Casino while he was hurrying to an emergency backup call.”
Well, we have a pretty good idea why “the rifle fired.”
(Chief Matt) Hamner described the rifle as an AR-style semi-automatic rifle. The Washington State Patrol Crime Lab inspected the gun and could find no evidence of something wrong with it, Hamner said. Now it is being analyzed by the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, which is conducting the investigation. Hamner said he wanted an outside agency to review the incident.
Oh, definitely. In fact, Hamner (above, left) should also send it to the FBI lab in D.C. when the locals are finished with it. Surely they’ll be able to figure out how this crazy AR just decided to fire itself as the un-named officer was carrying it. In a hurry. On an emergency backup call.
“I want to get to the bottom of this and regardless of the findings the weapon will not be used again,” Hamner said, adding that in light of the inadvertent discharge the department planned a review of policies and procedures. “This is very disconcerting to me.”
That seems prudent given the circumstances. Any firearm with a mind of its own simply can’t be trusted in a duty situation. The Bainbridge Island PD really should melt this one down to ensure that it never does anything like that again.
It may seem strange the Kitsap Sun’s Andrew Binion doesn’t even mention the possibility that the officer — in a high stress, adrenaline-fueled situation — might have had his finger on trigger as he was hurrying to help a fellow officer. You’re probably thinking that, rather than a malfunctioning rifle, this was a “simple” case of a negligent discharge.
But cut the reporter a break. He was no doubt assure by Chief Hamner that the un-named officer’s finger was indexed and nowhere near the trigger when the rifle put a round into the Casino floor. And like most reporters, he doesn’t know enough about firearms to realize when someone is peeing on his leg and telling him it’s raining.
The officer was not placed on administrative leave, Hamner said, because no misconduct was alleged.
“I want to know what the cause is so we can make sure it never happens again,” he said.
As do we all.