Maple Heights -- "Police await a ruling from the Maple Heights prosecutor's office to see if any charges or disciplinary action will be leveled stemming from a June 27 police training accident at the former St. Wenceslas School that sent three Shaker Heights police officers to the hospital with "minor" gunshot wounds.
"I am not anticipating any charges on this," Detective Sgt. Joe Ehrbar said July 10. "But I still want to wait for the ruling."
According to Ehrbar, who has been investigating the incident, police expect a ruling from the prosecutor as soon as this week.
Shaker Heights Law Director Randy Keller said he could not comment in detail on the incident, in which the officers "suffered minor injuries" after being shot with small pellets.
Ehrbar said the training exercise was for new officers and simulated a situation where a gunman was loose in the school. Officers had been given permission to use St. Wenceslas, because of its large size and it being vacant.
The exercise called for police to carry special training shotguns that would only fire blank rounds. But during the training, one of the weapons malfunctioned, and one of the officers went outside to a police car to retrieve a standard-issue shotgun, Ehrbar said.
The officer loaded that shotgun with what he thought were blanks, but were later discovered to be birdshot, which had somehow been placed in the box containing the blank rounds, Ehrbar said.
The detective explained that the birdshot shells, which look very similar to the blank shells, each contain about 400 small pellets and are generally used for hunting and trap shooting.
The officers resumed the drill, in which a blank round was to be fired into the ground, and the officer in the lead was supposed to fall down as if he had been hit.
But according to Ehrbar, when the live-ammo gun was fired, some of the birdshot pellets bounced up and hit the lead officer in the foot and leg. He went down, but the other officers continued, not knowing he was really injured.
In fact, Ehrbar said, the injured officer later told investigators that he did not even realize he was truly hurt, thinking instead that he had been hit by part of a blank round that exploded.
Then a second live-ammo shotgun blast went off, Ehrbar said, sending more pellets ricocheting down the hallway, into two more officers. But they, like the first officer, believed it was just shrapnel from a blank round, and they continued the drill, Ehrbar said.
It was not until one of the officers noticed his cheek was bleeding "too much" where a pellet had struck him, that the exercise was stopped.
The officers, who suffered minor cuts and puncture wounds were transported to Hillcrest Hospital, where they were treated and released. They were back to work the next day, Ehrbar said.
Ehrbar said police are trying to find out how the birdshot got mixed up with the training shells. In the meantime, training has ceased at St. Wenceslas.
'It should not have taken place," he said of the accident. "But one of the reasons we do training is to work out the kinks.'"
Work enough of them there "kinks", hoss, and you'll be looking for a whole new passle of recruits to replace the one's killed during training. Attention to detail is critical in certain occupations and it is quite obvious that the unnamed officer is lacking same. Now, you or I shoot several people by mistake and guess what? Not only are we NAMED for all the world to see, but you can bet your britches there would be charges filed.
Not so for the Only Ones. They get to shoot their pals with impunity. And yes, blank shotguns rounds look similar to the real thing but lack the heft and can be spotted in an instant when one is paying at least halfass attention.
And for those advocating birdshot for self defense...
Thanks to The War on Guns for the link to these stooges.