Two days after a Florida cop fired live rounds instead of blanks during a training exercise, killing a 73-year-old librarian who was showing her support for police, a Tennessee cop fired a live round during a “firearm safety for teachers” training drill in a middle school Thursday.
Luckily, nobody was killed this time around, but it certainly raises questions of incompetency with firearms among our nation’s police forces because this officer also thought he was shooting blanks.
Rockwood Police Chief Danny Wright called it an “accidental discharge,” which is a term they use to mean negligent discharge.
But perhaps the cop meant to shoot the gun, thinking it was loaded with blanks. That’s how it was planned in the gun safety lesson at Rockwood Middle School.
They say they even had the Florida incident on their minds at they prepared for Thursday’s exercise, but nobody had the mind to ensure the gun was not loaded with real bullets.
No students were at the school because it was a teachers work day, giving police the chance to show the teachers how to react in an active shooter situation, which it ended up becoming.
During the drill, teachers, staff and school personnel are locked in a classroom with the police chief while an officer fires blank rounds in the hallway.
However, the officer’s weapon contained a live round.
“It was a blank-fire drill, is what is was. There was not to be any discharge of live ammunition,” explained Roane County Schools Superintendent Leah Watkins.
No one was injured and no students were in the building at the time because Thursday was an in-service day for teachers. Officials also locked the doors to the school so no one mistakenly wandered in.
Officials then canceled a second drill planned for Ridge View Elementary School later in the morning.
“We just felt it was in the best interest to discontinue that simulation,” Watkins said.
Watkins said no one was in the proximity of the weapon when it fired. The bullet damaged a “minor little piece” of a cinder block on the wall, “but it’s really not anything that would be noticeable,” she said.
The officer who fired the gun is now on paid administrative leave, but, of course, they won’t release his name.
But don’t be surprised if he has a long history of incompetency or abuse because it takes arrogance to think you’re too skillful to take basic safety steps to ensure your gun is not loaded.
On Tuesday, the day when Punta Gorda police officer Lee Coel killed librarian Mary Knowlton, the Rockwood Police Department posted the following information on its Facebook page, advising the community about it plans to conduct the shooting drill in order to keep the “children safe.”
And below is a classic video of a DEA agent speaking to a group of students at a school in Florida about gun safety, telling them he is the only one in the room with the training to handle a gun, when the gun goes off and shoots him in the foot.
Lee Paige ended up suing the DEA, accusing them of releasing the video, which he said violated his privacy, causing him embarrassment, but that suit was thrown out of court.
Maybe he should have sued them for not properly training him how to handle a gun.
The video below that shows a compilation of Barney Fife mishandling a gun. But he was a fictional TV cop.