Accidents happen, even to those who are well trained. This one is particularly bad. A police officer was unintentionally shot by her partner while the two were searching a property for a fugitive. The bullet hit the female officer in the back, just above the area protected by her vest.
The incident occurred in Lafayette, Indiana on January 8th. Officer Lane Butler was shot by her partner, Aaron Wright.
Butler and Wright were leaving a building after they’d failed to find the person they were searching for. Wright still had his gun drawn.
Wright was then attacked by a dog that had been inside the house. During the attack, he accidentally fired his gun.
“Our conclusion in this incident was this was not a result of an act of negligence, carelessness or otherwise reckless behavior,” Lafayette Police Chief Patrick Flannelly said at the news conference. “It was accidental.”
The incident was caught on Wright’s body camera. “In the video,” The Daily Mail notes, “the dog can be heard barking loudly before he fired.”
After the shot, Butler fell to the ground. Another officer on the scene yells “What happened?”
Wright then tried to flag down another officer who had responded to the scene. Butler, still conscious, is put inside that car and was taken to the hospital.
“We again just want to extend our prayers to her and her family and all of her loved ones and let them know that they will have our continued support,” Flannelly added. “We’re thankful that she is doing well and improving. That’s the most important thing.”
“Officer Butler is an amazing public servant and is a dedicated and valued member of our agency,” the department’s press release said.
“She is demonstrating tremendous courage and strength and she fights to recover from her injury.”
The video below will inevitably become a teaching tool. More should have been done to secure the dog. And, as all trainers know, the finger stays off the trigger until you are ready to fire.
Butler remains in critical condition, but she is expected to recover. No word on any disciplinary actions that might accompany the shooting. For now, it remains an unfortunate accident.