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Off-duty police officer's gun accidentally fired by child at pla - KOAM TV 7

Off-duty police officer's gun accidentally fired by child at playground

Updated:
Small bullet hole in right side of slide Small bullet hole in right side of slide
WEBB CITY, MISSOURI - Rule number ten of a playground at King Jack Park in Webb City, MO states children must have fun while there.  It appears this rule, at the very least, was broken over this past weekend.

Webb City's police chief says the off-duty officer involved with the accident, "...feels as bad about it as anybody...".

"It's tragic," says parent Daniel Boles, who with his wife and two kids, spent Monday playing where what could have been a death.

"Grateful, lucky no child or anybody was hurt," says Boles.

"We did not want to appear like we were trying to hide anything, or didn't want this out.  We want this out," says Police Chief Carl Francis/

Francis says one of his off-duty officers heard his young daughter yell for help at the top of the playground.  Somehow, most likely by maneuvering through the playground, the officer lost his off-duty gun, which was clipped on the inside of his pant pocket.  Francis says the officer didn't realize what happened.

But all it took were seconds.  Then...

"A small child had picked the gun up, thinking it was a toy, and pulled the trigger on it, and it shot a hole in the slide," says Francis.

Francis says he doesn't know how many children and parents were at the playground at the time, but thinks several of them left distraught after the officer regained control of his weapon without further incident.

Francis has since talked with the father of the six-year-old boy who picked up the gun.

"Explained to him exactly what we know to have happened.  I was very honest with him, very up front.  Told him it was an off-duty firearm, off-duty police officer," says Francis.

The officer involved is back at work, but subject to an internal investigation by Webb City PD.

"Hopefully, other officers will learn from it," says Francis.

"The officer that this happened to would reflect on it and hopefully he's learned more of a lesson.  Of course, word of mouth is the best advertisement," says Boles.

Webb City police do not expect their internal investigation, conducted by their own workers, to last long.  But Francis says discipline is likely.  Francis says a daughter of the officer involved was still on the slide when the firearm was accidentally fired.  

Webb City's police chief says officers are expected to have a gun at their disposal at all times.  The officer involved has been with the police department for six years and has never been disciplined before.  Chief Francis says the officer's name will be released once the internal investigation is complete.

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