Skip to comments.Attorney fires gun in office
Posted on 06/20/2002 11:07:13 AM PDT by Henrietta
NEWTON District Attorney David Flaherty Jr. says he wont take any action against Assistant District Attorney Jason Parker for accidentally firing his pistol in his office at the Catawba County Justice Center on Friday morning beyond making him pay for a broken window.
Parker, a candidate for district court judge, and Sean McGinnis, another assistant district attorney, were at the county firing range Friday morning brushing up on shooting skills, according to Flaherty. When they returned to Parkers office around 8 a.m., Parkers .380 semi-automatic accidentally discharged, according to Maj. Coy Reid of the Catawba County Sheriffs Office.
The bullet put a hole in a window overlooking the smoking area in front of the Justice Center. No one was injured.
I am disappointed in him (Parker), Flaherty said. He is a friend and a good district attorney. I know he reported it immediately to those who were supposed to be made aware of the incident.
Flaherty said he put a note in Parkers personnel file, but no charges would be filed.
The only thing I would consider charging Parker with is reckless endangerment, but the bullet traveled out the window, not into the building iteslf, said Flaherty. I will make him pay for the plate glass window, however.
Flaherty, district attorney for the 25th Prosecutorial District, said he got a phone call from Parker around 8:15 a.m. on Friday saying that he accidentally fired a pistol in the office that was once used by Flaherty.
Reid said the handgun had a mechanical malfunction with the ejector slide.
Sheriff David Huffman said Parker turned the handgun over to authorities and asked that it be destroyed by the State Bureau of Investigation.
I was on vacation when it happened, but I think that Parker was so shaken by the incident that he just wanted to get it out of his sight altogether, he said.
When someone asks to have a gun destroyed, the SBI checks the serial number to verify the history of the gun before destroying it.
Huffman said his department will also run a check on the weapon today.
Huffman said he assumed the pistol had been registered to Parker, but he was not sure.
North Carolina law does not require a handgun to be registered with the state, said Huffman. When you purchase a handgun, you must first fill out a permit to purchase, which asks for all the pertinent information, such as where you live, why you need the gun, etc. This is essentially the same information that registering a handgun would provide.
When asked about the legality of carrying a handgun into the courthouse, Flaherty said he saw no problem with it.
We are law enforcement officers, and there is no problem with my assistants or me carrying guns, said Flaherty. I carry one myself occasionally, although it is not concealed.
John Bason, public information officer for the state Attorney Generals Office, disagrees with Flahertys assessment of the law.
Bottom line is, district attorneys or their assistants are not law enforcement officers.
Therefore, they must abide by the same statutes that apply to anyone else who is not a sworn officer of the law, said Bason.
I did not know that DAs were considered law enforcement officers. To be in law enforcement, you have to go to law enforcement school, even though I could swear you in right now.
Huffman said he has had several attorneys in the past request permission to bring a firearm into the courthouse for protection, but that the sheriffs office would assign an extra deputy instead.
Retired Superior Court Judge Oliver Noble said it was unwise and improper for Parker to bring a gun into the courthouse.
I have never seen him with a gun, said Noble. I dont know if thats against the law or not, and I have never seen anyone prosecuted for this. However, I have never heard of a law allowing a gun in a state office. If I were to guess, I would say there isnt.
As far as any charges that could have been filed, Huffman said that you have to look at each situation differently.
We treated this as if it was an accident, said Huffman. We dont condone bringing handguns into the courthouse by district attorneys. However, nobody was hurt, and the gun malfunctioned. You have to have some breathing room regarding the law. However, it is possible that I would go back and look at the situation further.
Reach Kim Gilliland at 322-4510, Ext. 249, or email@example.com.
Oh, yeah, that'll stop him from doing it again...just put a note in his personnel file. This puke should be charged with reckless endangerment. District Attorneys are NOT law enforcement officers...but they sure are treated as such when they screw up, negligently discharge weapons in a public place, and endanger the people they "serve."
Better luck next time.
The only thing I would consider charging Parker with is reckless endangerment, but the bullet traveled out the window, not into the building iteslf, said Flaherty.
Yup, nothing but targets and other Peons on the outside of the Hall of Justice, eh Flaherty?
The gun wouldn't shoot itself anyway - not just because the ejector was broken. Someone has to pull the trigger.
Pretty smart. Once the gun is destroyed, even an assessment that the gun was in fine working condition can be challenged very successfully since some sources of malfunction can be very subtle and cause problems very infrequently.
My guess would be that the trigger was pulled while a round was in the chamber and the gun "malfunctioned" by firing. Chalk up another statistic for the anti-gunners to use against the Second Amendment.
How come my employee can carry and I can't?
That's BS. It takes me less than a second to have my G17 chambered.
You may be right, but his story checks out with the way most .380's work. Most, but not all, are cheap Saturday Night Specials. Most utilize a 'blowback' action which is prone to fire on impact or being dropped.
Regardless, he did not have control of his weapon. Either he had not properly unloaded it or, instead of keeping it concealed, he was playing with it in his office when he dropped it.
Either way, negligent discharge.
If he replaces it, I hope he gets something a bit more serious, that .380 was more than likely to just piss off a bad guy.
The G17 is a nice weapon.
How long does it take you to rack the slide with one hand?
Maybe it's paranoid, but I don't want to take the chance that I might have already been winged when I present my weapon. I can rack it with one hand if I have to, but it takes me more than a second. Most gunfights are over in 3 seconds, I'm not willing to give the BG that much of an edge.
The proper way to carry a 1911 style is cocked and locked, period. It was designed to be carried with a round chambered, the action cocked, and the thumb safety engaged.
The proper way to carry a DAO or DA/SA semi is decocked on a chambered round. You may or may not engage the external safety if one is available. In modern semi, the firing pin cannot impact the primer unless the trigger is pulled.
The proper way to carry a modern revolver with a transfer bar is with all cylinders occupied (contrary to NRA instruction, which advocates having an empty chamber under the hammer -- which is necessary on old-style revolvers with the firing pin integral to the hammer).
Now, you die, and we all move up in rank!