Marvin Willis has been on the Morehead City, North Carolina police force since 2011. In October he was taking part in a training exercise in the police station parking lot when he unintentionally discharged his handgun, shooting Officer Garret Hardin in the chest.
Hardin spent a week in the hospital and is still recovering from his injury. He has not yet been able to return to work.
In reviewing the case, the district attorney stated, "After reviewing the investigative findings of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, I have determined that no criminal charges will be filed in this matter. Former Officer Willis demonstrated a high level of negligence in failing to properly clear his handgun before entering the training exercise; however, his negligent conduct does not rise to the level of criminal intent required to prove that he committed a criminal offense beyond a reasonable doubt.
“After Willis discharged his handgun in the training situation, he immediately assisted a medic in rendering assistance to Officer Hardin. The fact that former Officer Willis will not face criminal charges does not excuse his negligent conduct. His employment has been terminated with the Morehead City Police Department, and this matter will be reported to the Criminal Justice Training and Standards Commission."
The Morehead City Police Department plans to thoroughly review its officer training program to make sure this type of incident never happens again.