Bad: Shooting Left Sergeant Shaken. New details emerge on training accident. (NH)

Bad: Shooting Left Sergeant Shaken. New details emerge on training accident. (NH)

This is a discussion on Bad: Shooting Left Sergeant Shaken. New details emerge on training accident. (NH) within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; As reported by Law Officer.com: Shooting Left Sergeant Shaken New details emerge on training accident * Annmarie Timmins * Concord Monitor (New Hampshire) * 2009 ...

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 25

Thread: Bad: Shooting Left Sergeant Shaken. New details emerge on training accident. (NH)

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    6,781

    Bad: Shooting Left Sergeant Shaken. New details emerge on training accident. (NH)

    As reported by Law Officer.com:

    Shooting Left Sergeant Shaken
    New details emerge on training accident

    * Annmarie Timmins
    * Concord Monitor (New Hampshire)
    * 2009 Jan 13

    CONCORD, N.H. -- The state attorney general's office issued a final report yesterday reaffirming its conclusion that a Concord police sergeant broke no laws when he accidentally shot and wounded another officer during a training session in May.

    But the report does reveal new details about how shaken the sergeant was immediately after the shooting. Sgt. Steven Smagula turned pale and told Officer Joshua Levasseur, the person he shot, that this was "the worst day of his life," according to the report. Smagula later became teary-eyed and shaken as he recounted the event for police Chief Robert Barry.

    Levasseur, meanwhile, never saw the gun go off and initially refused to go to the hospital because he said he felt fine.

    What still hasn't been made public is what in-house penalties, if any, Smagula or the other officers have received or may receive. When Smagula accidentally shot Levasseur, they were inside a partially constructed bank doing an impromptu training session without the bank's permission.

    Barry said the department will use the attorney general's final report to conduct its own internal review. But personnel matters such as officer discipline are confidential, he said. All four officers, Smagula, Levasseur, and Officers Nicole Brown and Thomas Hughes, still work for the department.

    Barry also said he could not disclose what policies the department has revised since the shooting, although he issued a press release indicating some policies had been reviewed and revised.

    Much of the report issued yesterday is a repeat of a preliminary report issued in early May, shortly after the shooting.

    Levasseur had suggested to Smagula that they use the Granite State Credit Union under construction on Sheep Davis Road as a training site during the midnight shift if things weren't too busy. Levasseur had discovered the partially built bank was accessible through an unlocked door the night before when he was called there for a 911 hangup call, according to the attorney general's office.

    Smagula, an 11-year veteran with the department and a member of the tactical team, had taken and given several police trainings in building searches, firearm safety and hostage rescue. If the night shift was quiet, it was customary for him to call in the younger officers and put them through technique trainings inside the station, the report said.


    But he liked the idea of training inside the bank and had Levasseur, Hughes and Williams, the last two brand new officers, meet at the credit union about 3 a.m., the report said. They unloaded their weapons safely - facing away from one another - and then checked one another's guns to be sure they were indeed unloaded.

    Then, for more than an hour, Smagula trained them on searching a building. When Hughes entered a room unsafely, exposing himself to a suspect, Smagula "dry fired" his empty gun to illustrate the danger, the report said. After the training, the officers reloaded - again facing away from one another - and prepared to leave.

    As they did, Levasseur asked Smagula how fast they could search the building now that they knew the floor plan. Smagula explained technique - not speed - should be an officer's first concern. He began to demonstrate how to walk through a slow search, gun pointed down, his finger off the trigger, the report said.

    When Smagula said something to the officers, his arm drifted and his gun fired, the report said. Smagula told officers he has no memory of pulling the trigger but knows he did because his gun has no history of firing on its own. No one in the building saw Smagula put his finger on the trigger, the report said, and investigators concluded that it slipped from beside the trigger to the trigger.

    Levasseur heard Smagula's gun fire and felt a pain in his chest, the report said. The bullet didn't penetrate his police vest, but it stunned him, the report said. He opened his shirt and saw a little blood.

    He told investigators the first thing he remembered saying was, "What the heck just happened?"


    The other three rushed to Levasseur and tried to make him sit down, the report said. He finally agreed, but after a minute got up and approached Smagula, who'd just called the incident in to a lieutenant at the station.

    "(Levasseur) walked over to (Smagula), shook his hand and told him he was okay, and then hugged him," the report said. They then got into Smagula's cruiser and returned to the station with the other officers following.

    Levasseur noticed Smagula was very pale, the report said, and asked if he was all right. "Sgt. Smagula said that he was but that it was the worst day of his life," the report said.

    Back at the station, Lt. John Brown and Smagula insisted Levasseur go to Concord Hospital in case he had suffered worse injuries than believed. Barry, awoken at home about 4:45 a.m. to be told of the shooting, visited Levasseur at the hospital. Then he went to the station.

    Barry asked Smagula if he was okay and whether he wanted to call anyone. Smagula replied that he'd rather tell Barry what had happened. Barry listened, the report said, without asking questions. Smagula's voice cracked as he talked and he was emotional, Barry later told investigators.

    When he later talked with investigators, Smagula said hearing his gun fire was "the only true surprise" of his life. He said he felt that he had died the moment he realized he had hit Levasseur.

    The state police and state attorney general's office interviewed all the officers involved and Brown and Barry in the days immediately after the shooting. The officers said they never felt unsafe during the training and reported there had been no horseplay or joking.

    The state concluded that Smagula did not intentionally draw his gun on Levasseur or intentionally pull the trigger. Without intent, he did not commit a crime, the state said. Investigators looked at first-degree assault, second-degree assault, simple assault and reckless conduct.

    William Roberts, the president of risk and security for the credit union, said yesterday that his office is not pursuing the police department for using the credit union without permission. He said the bank considers the issue in the past and not likely to happen again given that the credit union is now finished and open for business.

    "And honestly, I'd rather have (the police) paying close attention to the site," Roberts said.

    The story can be found at; Training Shooting Left Sergeant Shaken

    - Janq

    Note: If this incident had occurred amongst non LEO citizens acting unlawfully and whilst _trespassing_ (!) like these officers were, then all persons involved would be charged with something and the shooter most likely with 'Assault with a firearm' which is a felony (!).
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array deadeye72's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Central Mississippi
    Posts
    4,283
    Can't say I really care for the double-standard here. If that had been a few of us getting together to practice the same thing, we would all be locked up for something. Glad that none of them were injured, but there needs to be some disciplinary action taken against the Sgt.
    Glock 27
    BENELLI NOVA

  3. #3
    Member Array chenemf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    335
    Pretty stupid doing a demo with a loaded gun. I recall reading some similar stories with much worse results. Hate to say that there were a lot of stupid things done that night.

  4. #4
    Distinguished Member Array Tally XD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Tallahassee, FL
    Posts
    1,831
    Every thing about this incident is stupid.

    - Training in a new construction building without proper permission

    - Carrying out training outside of department knowledge

    - Using real guns/ammo in a public setting training scenario without any real supervision or emergency preparations

    - Loading the weapon then going back into the training scenario live
    I am consistently on record and will continue to be on record as opposing concealed carry.
    - Barack Obama Chicago Tribune, April 27, 2004

  5. #5
    VIP Member Array semperfi.45's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Over here now!
    Posts
    3,617
    Quote Originally Posted by Tally XD View Post
    Every thing about this incident is stupid.

    - Training in a new construction building without proper permission

    - Carrying out training outside of department knowledge

    - Using real guns/ammo in a public setting training scenario without any real supervision or emergency preparations

    - Loading the weapon then going back into the training scenario live
    That sums it up. Pretty stupid. He must lose his job.
    Training means learning the rules. Experience means learning the exceptions.

  6. #6
    Member Array joffe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    165
    The incompetence is staggering and the double standard is even more staggering.

    Imagine if a bunch of regular guys had gone and done this, as said? Can you imagine the fecal storm from the media? The 'for the children' politicians crying and throwing tantrums?

  7. #7
    Distinguished Member Array morintp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    1,233
    I understand the dislike of the double standard, I don't like it myself. You're right that if it was a group of citizens, a bunch of us would be spending some time in jail. There are a lot of things they did wrong. I get that.

    But what I do like about the situation is that, first and foremost, no one was seriously injured. I also like the fact that the older veteran was taking the newer, younger guys under his wing and providing training as realistic as possible. You can't get all of your education in school, and this officer was doing everything he could to give his recruits as much knowledge as possible.

    Everybody has the potential to make a mistake. Officer Smagula made a huge one, and he feels horrible about it. He was on the receiving end of the education that night. I'd hate to see him lose his job over this, because he seems like one of the good guys. Maybe a disciplinary week or two off, because even a mistake needs to be punished sometimes. But no matter what you do to him, you can't punish this guy more than he's punishing himself right now. His heart was in the right place, if his head was not.

    Oh, and next time use training guns.
    64,999,987 firearms owners killed no one yesterday.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Array mercop's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    1,067
    Sounds like a case of sympathetic reflex to me. We will likely never know. NO LIVE AMMO IN THE TRAINING ENVIRONMENT.

  9. #9
    Distinguished Member Array bandit383's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Posts
    1,681
    Quote Originally Posted by joffe View Post
    The incompetence is staggering and the double standard is even more staggering.

    Imagine if a bunch of regular guys had gone and done this, as said? Can you imagine the fecal storm from the media? The 'for the children' politicians crying and throwing tantrums?
    Don't agree...doubt a "bunch of regular guys" would be using a bank to practice tactics...for what purpose??

    He was on the SWAT team...and attempting to impart some of his knowledge on the younger newbies. I am betting it was well known and condoned by the higher ups...kinda hard to keep that a secret.

    He didn't try to cover it up...which has been seen many times by many other incidences.

    He took complete responsibility...and accountability.

    Fortunately...the vest worked.

    No double standard in my eyes...

    Rick

  10. #10
    Member Array socal2310's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Camarillo, CA
    Posts
    467
    Why is it that when people talk about police double standards, potential victims of the double standard wish to make things worse? I see this in public comment sections in newspapers all the time.

    Let's try something novel; if there is a double standard, first think about relaxing it in favor of average citizens. We know that a lot (possibly most) of negligent discharges without injury that occur are never reported to the police. Why not codify that in law? What purpose does criminalizing such people serve? It doesn't seem to have much deterrent effect: laws targeting negligence in general are ineffective. With a normal person, the discharge is punishment enough and someone who is truly reckless probably isn't going to be deterred regardless of the penalty attached.

    If there is a victim then restitution of some sort is necessary: I think the officer ought to have to pay the hospital fees out of his own pocket, but that ought to be enough.

    Ryan

    P.S. I think we might see less resistance from police going that route than the other.
    Last edited by socal2310; January 25th, 2009 at 11:42 AM. Reason: something else occurred to me.
    Those who will not govern their own behavior are slaves waiting for a master; one will surely find them.

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array Guns and more's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fl
    Posts
    2,391
    his gun has no history of firing on its own.
    Ya think?
    But what I do like about the situation is that, first and foremost, no one was seriously injured.
    Only by sheer luck.

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array stormbringerr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Republic of Texas
    Posts
    2,207
    Quote Originally Posted by joffe View Post
    The incompetence is staggering and the double standard is even more staggering.

    Imagine if a bunch of regular guys had gone and done this, as said? Can you imagine the fecal storm from the media? The 'for the children' politicians crying and throwing tantrums?
    yes, i can imagine it...
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.
    ― Thomas Paine

  13. #13
    Senior Member Array KenInColo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Western Colorado
    Posts
    991
    Isn't that what those red & blue rubber guns are for?

    In every class I have ever taken (it amounts to over 50 hrs so far), no live ammo was ever allowed in the classroom, EVER.

    If I'm the wounded officer, I'm suing Smagula.
    An armed populace are called citizens.
    An unarmed populace are called subjects.

  14. #14
    VIP Member
    Array archer51's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    21,666
    William Roberts, the president of risk and security for the credit union, said yesterday that his office is not pursuing the police department for using the credit union without permission. He said the bank considers the issue in the past and not likely to happen again given that the credit union is now finished and open for business.
    Here is where the double standard comes in. If Joe Ordinary was in the building without permission he would be prosecuted for it. If not by the bank then by the construction company. Having worked in the construction environment for many years I can tell you for a fact it is a dangerous place to work. Now add darkness to that environment and you double the danger.

    Levasseur had discovered the partially built bank was accessible through an unlocked door the night before when he was called there for a 911 hangup call, according to the attorney general's office.
    Did he notify the construction company that they had left the door unlocked and needed to make sure the site was secure when they left? The construction company would be liable if someone entered the site and was injured. If he did not notify the construction company of the building being left unsecured and someone entered and was injured he left himself and the department open for a lawsuit as well.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Array XD in SC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    SC
    Posts
    660
    Quote Originally Posted by deadeye72 View Post
    Can't say I really care for the double-standard here. If that had been a few of us getting together to practice the same thing, we would all be locked up for something. Glad that none of them were injured, but there needs to be some disciplinary action taken against the Sgt.
    Just caught this...

    We recently had a pair of incidents very similar to this, and the public screamed for justice in both!

    Short and sweet....

    #1
    4 minors were handling a stolen handgun.
    None knew much about the handgun.
    While handling, one pulled the trigger and bullet hit person 2.

    Now charges were filed on the shooter... as he didn't intentionally shoot person 2.

    #2

    Young Marine at a party, possibly intoxicated. (never heard officially)
    Handling his own handgun.
    Aimed and fired at his buddies head.
    Buddy killed instantly
    Shooter charged because he intentionally took aim and intentionally pulled the trigger.

    I don't see a double standard in the original post, but yes I am sure his department will reprimand.
    Sean
    XD 9SC | XD 45ACP Service | XD 45ACP Compact |Borealis
    "You may know where you are. God may know where you are. If you don't tell your dispatcher where you are, you'd better be on speaking terms with God!"

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Links

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Similar Threads

  1. Orioles pitcher: Shooting death was an accident
    By Coder in forum In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: January 4th, 2011, 08:24 AM
  2. BAD: Accident leads to road-rage shooting
    By SIGguy229 in forum In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: May 24th, 2010, 07:49 AM
  3. Tacoma Shooting Details (Graphic Content)
    By ibesarcasm in forum In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: December 30th, 2009, 11:12 PM
  4. Boy Dies After Shooting Accident
    By goldshellback in forum Off Topic & Humor Discussion
    Replies: 58
    Last Post: October 30th, 2008, 05:02 PM
  5. Shooting a Deer After a Road Accident?
    By JonInNY in forum Off Topic & Humor Discussion
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: May 11th, 2008, 07:35 AM

Search tags for this page

officer training accident

Click on a term to search for related topics.