FORT SMITH : 6-year-old daughter of police captain hurt in home gun accident
BY DAVE HUGHES
Posted on Friday, August 1, 2008
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FORT SMITH ó The 6-yearold daughter of a Fort Smith police captain accidentally shot herself with her fatherís service pistol Wednesday, police said.
Blair Ranells, a daughter of Capt. Larry Ranells, shot herself once in the cheek.
Blair was listed in fair condition Thursday afternoon at Arkansas Childrenís Hospital in Little Rock. Her injuries are not considered life-threatening.
A police report states the shooting occurred at 5: 46 p.m. Wednesday at the Ranells í home in south Fort Smith. The department does not release home addresses of its officers for security reasons, Capt. David Overton said.
Blair was in the den with her older sister Hennessey, according to a report by officer Joseph Armer. Hennessey told Armer she was working at a computer desk while Blair played beside a bed.
Hennessey didnít know Blair had gotten the gun until she heard it go off, she said.
Overton said he was unclear Thursday where Blair found the gun and why it was loaded.
The gun was a Glock 27, a. 40-caliber, semiautomatic handgun that Ranells was issued as a backup weapon, Overton said. The gun does not have a safety but has a lever on the trigger that must be depressed before the gun will fire, he said.
The children told officers that their father is meticulous about gun safety, Overton said, adding that Ranells is known in the department for being con- scientious about firearm safety.
An officerís worst fear is an accident at home with a service weapon, Overton said.
Ranells is an 18-year veteran of the department, he said. He is the night shift captain, a firearms instructor and has served as the departmentís training officer, Overton said.
Blair was taken by ambulance to St. Edward Mercy Medical Center in Fort Smith and later transferred to Childrenís Hospital. Overton said Blair underwent surgery Thursday.
The shooting prompted a criminal investigation by the departmentís detective division as well as an internal investigation by the Office of Professional Standards.
The investigations are routine, and police donít suspect foul play, Overton said. Ranells is not suspended pending the outcome of the investigations, he said.
Officers are issued cable gun locks, Overton said. With the gun unloaded and the magazine removed, the cable is threaded through the magazine opening in the grip and out the ejection port. The end of the cable is inserted in the lock, completing a loop and preventing the gun from being loaded or fired.
Opinions differ on whether officers should unload their weapons at home, Overton said, but obviously itís safer unloaded.
But some instructors counsel officers to leave their guns loaded and in a safe place at home, he added. An officer who unloads his gun at home may forget to reload before going on duty.