Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Police instructor found guilty in unintentional trainee shooting case, sentenced to jail

46-year-old William Kern, an 18-year veteran of the Baltimore, Maryland police department, was sentenced to 18 months in jail with all but 60 days suspended for unintentionally shooting a recruit in the head during a training exercise in February.

Kern was found guilty of reckless endangerment in the shooting of Raymond Gray, a police trainee. Gray was critically injured in the shooting. The incident occurred at the Rosewood Center in Owings Mills, Maryland.

Kern testified at trial that he thought he was holding his simunitions training pistol that fires paintball-like cartridges when he pointed the gun at Gray and pulled the trigger. "I realized it was not my simunitions weapon immediately," he said.

Prosecutors argued that Kern broke policy by bringing his gun to the training and that he had an "unhealthy attachment" to his gun, had pulled it by mistake before the shooting and was reluctant to give it up afterward.

Gray, who was shot in the head, lost sight in one eye and was hospitalized for months before moving to a rehabilitation center.

Kern was also sentenced to two years of probation and will have to undergo psychiatric counseling.

1 comment:

Mr. 618 said...

Most police training exercises are adamant about no live weapons being on site, regardless of reason, for exactly this reason. The linked article says that Kern and another supervisor carried live weapons because of the neighborhood where the training was taking place; in that case -- if the cops were afraid to be there unarmed -- maybe they should have requested extra officers for security. But after 14 years in police work, I suspect the "unhealthy attachment" is totally correct: too many of today's cops rely too much on their weapons and not enough on their other options.