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Ex-cop who shot fellow officer in line to be local firefight
Kevin P. O'Connor 06/23/2004

PAWTUCKET -- Joseph Warzycha, the former East Providence police officer who accidentally killed his captain during a SWAT exercise, is the next person in line to be hired by the Pawtucket Fire Department.

Warzycha, 29, finished first in the department's recent recruitment drive. He is scheduled to participate in the Fire Department academy set for July. As soon as an approval is issued, he will be hired, city officials say.

Warzycha pleaded no contest to manslaughter for accidentally shooting and killing East Providence Police Capt. Alister McGregor during a SWAT training exercise on Dec. 27, 2001.

Warzycha was acting as the squad's sniper during a training exercise, practicing hostage rescue from a school bus. McGregor was leading the practice session.

During a break, McGregor was seated in the driver's seat in the bus. Warzycha was on the roof of a building, 70 yards away.

Police say Warzycha, using a hunting rifle with a scope and a tripod, sighted the gun on McGregor and pulled the trigger, believing the weapon was empty.

There was no magazine in the rifle but there was one round in the chamber. McGregor was shot in the head and died.

Warzycha was charged with manslaughter. He was given a five-year deferred sentence when he pleaded no contest in January 2003 before Superior Court Judge Gilbert Indeglia.

That sentence ended the case against Warzycha with what is legally known as "less than a conviction." Warzycha does not have a criminal record as a result of the no contest plea.

As part of the plea, Warzycha agreed that he would resign from the East Providence Police Department and that he would not seek employment with a law enforcement agency.

Those prohibitions do not include seeking work as a firefighter, according to Mayor James Doyle.

"The number one person on our hiring list is Joseph Warzycha," Doyle said on Tuesday.

"He was forthcoming about his problems in East Providence. We checked with the legal department. They didn't see any legal impediment to his taking the test and getting on the list."

Fire Chief Timothy McLaughlin confirmed that Warzycha finished at or near the top of all the department applicants in the written and physical tests and in the interviews conducted by three firefighters.

McLaughlin said there will be several openings, possibly as many as eight, when the city's new fiscal year begins on July 1.

All the applicants are state certified EMTs (Emergency Medical Technician). The top 20 applicants on the list will be part of the city's fire academy, teaching them department procedures and training them on department equipment.

Warzycha was charged with involuntary manslaughter. With his plea, he admitted that he was negligent for failing to check his weapon to make sure it was empty before entering the training exercise.

Warzycha has not yet been offered a job. By city rules, however, he must be the first person offered a job with the Fire Department because he is first on the hiring list.

Hiring in the department is expected to begin after the start of the new fiscal year
 

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Re: Ex-cop who shot fellow officer in line to be local firef

I agree,

Very unfortunate. No need to twist the guy into the ground for something he certainly didn't INTEND to do. He'll live with it in his heart and mind for the rest of his life.
:(
However,
Let's always remember that human error can never be eliminated 100%. That's why we have checks like two-man rule in nuclear weapons and range safety. That's why we ALL should jack those slides, rack those bolts, and look/feel the actions on the range and training exercises. This incident should never have happened. Nuff said
:shock:
 

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Re: Ex-cop who shot fellow officer in line to be local firef

I agree and disagree...While it was an accident (and we all know those happen in this line of work) pulling a trigger while sighted on someone shows a real lack of common sense...I mean what's next?... He pulls a ladder out from under his squad accidently because he's bored. (then pleads no contest instead of guilty?)..Again it was an accident..but putting him back in a Public Safety Job is a risk i wouldn't take...Just my thought..not meant to cause an argument.....
 

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Re: Ex-cop who shot fellow officer in line to be local firef

robodope @ 6/28/2004 5:38:32 PM said:
I mean what's next?... He pulls a ladder out from under his squad accidently because he's bored. (then pleads no contest instead of guilty?)..Again it was an accident..but putting him back in a Public Safety Job is a risk i wouldn't take...Just my thought..not meant to cause an argument.....
You have to be joking! Please! :x You actually think that this man is that much of a moron he would do such a idiotic action? Or did you just not give enough thought for your idiotic example? He is a trained, experienced public servant that screwed up. He knows it and has paid for it.
 

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Re: Ex-cop who shot fellow officer in line to be local firef

Whoa!!!!!!

Gil, you're right!
Robo, think about this.....................................

With the advent of simunitions, you are going to see people pointing "real" firearms and pulling the "real" trigger on their peers with the "real" potential for something like this to go "really" wrong.
:shock:
That's why I said before that human error can NEVER be eliminated 100%. Training officers, range supervisors, etc MUST be ever vigilant to prevent LIVE ammo from finding its way into these scenario's. But it will continue to happen. We just have to try our best to catch these rounds in pockets, bags, mags, chambers, or wherever BEFORE the training begins.

I still cringe when my fellow officers sweep my body with their muzzles while cleaning or reassembling their weapons. "muzzle control" is a 100% realtime rule.

Peace
:wink:
 

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Re: Ex-cop who shot fellow officer in line to be local firef

I've had the honor of working and being friends with Joe. He was always highly squared away and he wanted nothing more than to be a police officer. This guy would give you the shirt off his back. Unfortunately he made a mistake but he has paid his dues and deserves this job with the fire department. Congratulations and good luck with your future position.
 

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Re: Ex-cop who shot fellow officer in line to be local firef

Um, Robo? It was an accident. It was a freak thing that just happened. Imagine how that former officer feels, having to live with what happened every second for the rest of his life. So you're going to label him a perpetual klutz? No more government jobs for him? Not even a civil service custodian, he might poke somebody's eye out with a broom handle?

Accidents happen all the time on this job... weapons go off in the station, at the range, etc. Yes, it's frightening to think those incidents occur and what the consequences might be, yet they still happen.

You should rethink that statement. Put yourself in his shoes.
 

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Re: Ex-cop who shot fellow officer in line to be local firef

Um, Robo? It was an accident. It was a freak thing that just happened.
How do you figure it was a freak accident. The "squad sniper", whom I would assume is rather good with weapons pointed a live scoped rifle at a brother officer's head and pulled the trigger. His defense - he thought it was unloaded. That's not an accident , its manslaughter for which he has paid his debt.
 

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Re: Ex-cop who shot fellow officer in line to be local firef

Accidents happen all the time on this job... weapons go off in the station, at the range, etc. Yes, it's frightening to think those incidents occur and what the consequences might be, yet they still happen.
Guns just don't "go off". They don't just sit quietly in your holster, then suddenly explode...someone must load the weapon, and someone must make a conscious effort to pull the trigger. If one follows even one of three simple rules of firearms safety, people wouldn't get shot in training (or anywhere else).
1. Treat all firearms as they are loaded.
2. Keep your finger off the trigger, outside the trigger guard until on target and ready to fire.
3. Point your muzzle in a safe direction at all times. (a safe direction is defined as a in case of an unintentional discharge, a place that causes no injury or death, and minimizes property damage.)

Think about it. if Warzycha had followed even one of these rules, this tragedy would not have occured. If he had "treated the firearm as though it were loaded" he would have known not to have pulled the trigger, or unloaded the chamber. If he had "kept his finger off the trigger", even with loaded chamber, nothing would have happened. Or if he had kept the "muzzle pointed in a safe direction" (like the ground), even if the weapon was discharged, no one would have been hurt or killed.

Let's ask a hypothetical question, would you feel comfortable having someone pointing a gun at you and pulling the trigger, just beacause they "knew" it was safe and unloaded. I certainly wouldn't. If you have to demonstrate by pointing, use a red-gun, that's what their there for.

As far as "force on force" or simunitions training, the pistols are modified not to accept conventional ammo, and every person taking part in the training is relieved of all their ammo, and pat frisked (yes, pat frisked) by a safety officer to ensure there is no ammo anywhere near the training. The pistols, rifles and shotguns are also all clearly marked as simunition weapons (covered with reflective yellow tape in our case).

As far as Warzycha is concerned....he got sloppy and someone died. If you're around firearms enough, people tend to get cocky and get sloppy with rules...sometimes all this results in is a hole in your locker, but in his case it was much more tragic. Was is accidental? No, it was UNINTENTIONAL. He did not intend to fire, yet he made the conscious effort to point the weapon, center the crosshairs on someone, and pull the trigger. Do I think his punishment was fair?....sure...like others have said, he has to live with that the rest of his life, but then again so do the relatives and friends of his victim. If he wants to become a firefighter, more power to him...but don't minimize his responsibility for his very unsafe actions.
 

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Re: Ex-cop who shot fellow officer in line to be local firef

I simply cannot believe how many monday morning quarterbacks are in this forum
This is not "monday morning quarterbacking".....I'm not saying how I would have called a play; anyone, ANYONE who would do something so irresponsible as to point a gun at coworker (or anyone they didn't wish to shoot), whether or not they "thought" it was unloaded and pull the trigger deserves to never carry a gun the rest of his life. I don't wish any ill will on Warzycha; on the contrary I wish him the best of his luck in his honorable new profession. It's just I'm annoyed that people would wish to minimize his responsibility for such a blatantly unsafe act by calling it "bad luck" or "accident".
 

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Re: Ex-cop who shot fellow officer in line to be local firef

Killjoy,

You're right. Don't get hot at Kmf, he's the patron saint of underdogs. (Right Fuocockie?)
Everybody chill and be SAFE!!!!!!!!
:wink:
 

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Re: Ex-cop who shot fellow officer in line to be local firef

Whoa whoa!!!! I didn't mean to come across as quarterbacking him.I work for a department full of them (maybe I'm becoming one)...I know it was accident.....Like I said we have all made mistakes( including myself!!)..I agree with Kev Fuc that it usually results in a hole in the locker but this man took a another persons life...I agree I used a silly example Gill but I just can't swallow such a blatant mistake...The officer was obviously experienced with firearms and screwed up....There was a life lost and yes he has to live with it but where do we draw the line at some accountability...Well like all of us hopefully we can learn from his mistakes as well as our own....I think it's admirable he wants to serve the public..I just don't think it's right...Like I said I wish him well and hope something good comes from all of it....Maybe something good will come of it....Maybe he will save a life......Either way Gill I don't think I've ever read a post of yours firing you up so much.I may get kicked off the board....E ither way stay safe
 

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Re: Ex-cop who shot fellow officer in line to be local firef

robodope @ 7/1/2004 6:02:26 PM said:
Either way Gill I don't think I've ever read a post of yours firing you up so much.I may get kicked off the board....E other way stay safe
Your blanket statement/example (although it struck a nerve) is your opinion and your welcome to express it. No one is going to get booted for expressing their opinion, that is as long as you don't start bashing LE like some other person I know (names are not needed).
 

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Re: Ex-cop who shot fellow officer in line to be local firef

I've been on vacation so I just wanted to address why I chose the term "freak accident":

dfc2502 @ 30 Jun 2004 10:45 said:
How do you figure it was a freak accident. The "squad sniper", whom I would assume is rather good with weapons pointed a live scoped rifle at a brother officer's head and pulled the trigger. His defense - he thought it was unloaded. That's not an accident , its manslaughter for which he has paid his debt.
I called it a freak accident because:

1. They were in training anyway, from the above article it didn't seem like he was just some numbnuts who was fooling around in the locker room at the station, pointing his weapon at other officers to get a reaction. Who knows, maybe he was that kind of person, but you can't surmise from the above article that is what he was doing, or maybe the weapon was pointed in that direction while his attention was elsewhere.

2. He didn't intentionally kill the man. Yes, the weapon was in his hand, yes, it was loaded, yes, he pulled the trigger and was negligent resulting in the death of another. But I'm sure he didn't mean it. It was a "freak" thing, kinda like if you swing your arm back (for some reason) not knowing someone was behind you and you clip them in the mouth knocking their tooth out (an example to a very different extreme, but keep reading). You know that feeling, like, "Oh sh*t, I am SO sorry!" You didn't MEAN to hit them in the face and knock out their tooth, but it happened, it was a freak thing, and most people would feel immediate remorse. It sounds to me like Warzycha did.

That was my point.
 

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Re: Ex-cop who shot fellow officer in line to be local firef

It's my understanding that they were doing "force on force" or simunition training and for some reason they allowed a non-simunition equipped weapon in the area (this is a BIG no-no, for obvious reasons, simunition equipped weapons cannot chamber or fire real ammo). I'm not sure who the designated safety officer was, or even if there was a safety officer, but in the end its everyone's responsibility for firearms safety. If you think something is unsafe or think someone is acting unsafe its your responsibility to speak up....maybe Warzycha was poorly trained...but considering he was a SWAT officer, I find that hard to believe. Anyone who was even vaguely familiar with force on force training should have known not to bring a real weapon into a training area.
 

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Re: Ex-cop who shot fellow officer in line to be local firef

MSP1821 said:
IThis guy would give you the shirt off his back. Unfortunately he made a mistake but he has paid his dues and deserves this job with the fire department. Congratulations and good luck with your future position.
It was a breakdown of the system of checks and rechecks. Unfortunately, a man paid for the breakdown of the system with his life.
The man deserves a second chance, and unless you know all the circumstances of the day, leave out the Quarterbacking.
 

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Amen.

People make mistakes. We dont lock up people for life for mistakes.

I havent heard a single bad thing about this officer.

He earned his position in Pawtucket FD, and deserves it a lot more than half of the other people who get the job because they got lucky on a test score, or know someone at HQ, whom will never truely understand the real goal behind being in public safety....
 

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Re: Ex-cop who shot fellow officer in line to be local firef

GD said:
It was a breakdown of the system of checks and rechecks. Unfortunately, a man paid for the breakdown of the system with his life.
The man deserves a second chance, and unless you know all the circumstances of the day, leave out the Quarterbacking.
This can also be said in defending this guy! All I know is there is a guy dead because of it accident or not.
 
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