Massachusetts Cop Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
447 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Lesson in gun safety goes awry

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By PHYLLIS LEHRER, Staff Writer
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tuesday, September 30, 2003 -- PELHAM - A gun went off during a firearms safety course taught by town police Friday evening, sending a bullet through a wall and a steel door frame at the Pelham Community Center.

The course was taught by Police Chief Edward Fleury, who said other officers also were present at the time.

Selectmen Monday declined to say who fired the gun, but went into a closed-door session with Fleury to discuss disciplinary proceedings against an officer.

"It was an unfortunate mistake," said Selectmen Chairman Edward Martin.

"Dangerous and unfortunate," said resident Robert Keyes of Packardville Road, who attended the selectmen's meeting to complain about the incident. Keyes, who said he heard about the incident "through the grapevine," said said the officer involved should be suspended and a letter added to his personnel file.

Selectman Eli Kwartler said all the comments would be considered in executive session.

Kwartler said this morning that the board will probably continue its deliberations and investigation at the next board meeting, scheduled for Oct. 16 at the Rhodes Building.

Alice Suprenant of Daniel Shays Highway, who also heard about the episode and attended the Monday night meeting, said it should be made public.

"Everyone in town is a taxpayer, and we have a right to know," she said. She also said the Pelham Elementary School is next door and a child could have been hurt.

She asked if it was customary to have live ammunition during a safety course. Martin said he didn't know.

Fleury declined to comment Monday.

At the Community Center Monday night, a small square of white tape on marker board in the ground-floor training room covered a bullet hole. On the lobby wall, another bullet hole was covered with a green flier. The steel door frame had been repaired and the paint was still sticky Monday night.

Highway Department Superintendent Richard Adamcek said Fleury called him at home at noon Saturday and told him of the incident. According to Adamcek, Fleury said he would take responsibility for the repairs.

Adamcek said his crew is working on repainting and repairing the door.

Phyllis Lehrer can be reached at [email protected].
 

·
Retired Fed, Active Special
Joined
·
8,803 Posts
Before all the negative nellies jump in.............
1. great arguement for Muzzle Control.
2. Wait for the Investigation to be done
:D
 

·
Subscribing Member
Joined
·
1,167 Posts
"he heard about the incident "through the grapevine," said said the officer involved should be suspended and a letter added to his personnel file."

This just kills me. The guy who said this should have a full frontal lobotomy. He'll be more intelligent that way. So to translate "I heard a rumor, and I have no idea what really happened. But because I'm an anti-establishment moron, I think the officer involved should be suspended and a letter added to his personnel file, even though what happened was probably an unfortunate accident."

This just adds to the piles of reasons why I have cancelled my subscription to the local newspapers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
447 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Who done it (many not suprised)

Monday, October 6, 2003 -- PELHAM - Police Chief Edward Fleury apologized today for firing a rifle during a firearms safety class last month and said he is "totally distraught" by what happened.
In a letter released this morning, Fleury described the incident, as well as plans to prevent future accidents. Copies of the letter will be available today at the Rhodes Building and the library in the Community Center.

"I have been your police chief for 17 years and have taught these safety classes during all that time without any accidents. I am proud of my record and totally distraught by what occurred. I am extremely sorry and apologize again," Fleury said in the one-page letter.

During the class Sept. 26, Fleury said he demonstrated the proper shooting stance. He pumped the rifle twice to demonstrate its action. He pointed at the wall, emphasizing that any weapon must be pointed in a safe direction and not toward any person, and pressed the trigger.

When it went off, he said he was dazed. He says the rifle is normally not kept loaded.

Fleury said he had checked the chamber and didn't see the round of ammunition. "It was so far recessed," he said during an interview this morning.

Fleury said the rifle, which he owns, was an older model and he will have it checked. All officers supply their own weapons for patrol work and classes.

The bullet went through a wall and a steel door frame at the Pelham Community Center during a class Fleury taught with six students present. Officer Kevin Fournier was also present.

Fleury said he was one of the first police officers in the area to be certified as a firearms instructor in 1982 and since then has taught gun safety to more than 1,000 people.

The incident has created a lot of discussion in town, according to Eli Kwartler, a member of the Board of Selectmen who serves as a liaison to the police department.

"They call me and stop me on the street. I tell them we're investigating and when we're done, we will do what's appropriate," said Kwartler.

"Someone said it will be covered up. Obviously that's not going to happen," Kwartler said. He said he was notified of the incident immediately after it occurred and was at the center by 11:10 p.m. that night.

The Board of Selectmen met in executive session last week to discuss disciplinary proceedings against an officer. Discipline action, if any, will be discussed at the selectmen's meeting Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhodes Building, said Kwartler.

Pelham resident Adrian Wilkins, who participated in the course, wrote a letter supporting Fleury.

"Accidents do occur in such situations, especially where mechanical equipment is in use. It's the mark of a good instructor that when an accident occurs due to mechanical problems, he has followed other safety precautions that exist to protect against such injury such problems could produce," wrote Wilkins, who was a former naval officer and head of instruction at a U.S. Navy school.

He could not be reached for direct comment.

As a result of this incident, Fleury says he will follow several new safety guidelines: using only designated demonstration weapons for classes, having two instructors present, using a bore light to check weapons, using a red "snap cap" to insure no ammunition is in the weapon, and requiring that all weapons in police cars be checked at the end of the shift and entered into the department's log.

"Between what the chief has done in the past, plus these added precautions, greatly reduces the possibility of something like this happening again," Kwartler said.

The second session of the class was held last Friday without incident, taught by Fournier and Officer Christopher Martin, said Fleury.

Fleury said he spoke to the class to explain what happened, apologize and ensure that participants were not upset.

"I got reassurances from them," he said. Fleury said he won't teach classes "for the time being."

The highway department is repainting and repairing the door, according to Richard Adamcek, highway department superintendent. Fleury said he will pay for the repairs. There is no cost estimate yet.

Phyllis Lehrer can be reached at [email protected].
 

·
Retired Fed, Active Special
Joined
·
8,803 Posts
Perfect way to illustrate my previous point.

1. Muzzle control!!!!!! =D>

If you forget the other nine (9) commandments of gun safety, the #1 rule is always MUZZLE CONTROL. (never point at something you don't want to shoot)

Mechanical failures, human error, slip n' falls, whatever. You handle firearms everyday for YEARS and this is what can(and will)happen. Bottom line is the Chief had the gun pointed in a SAFE DIRECTION during an unintentional discharge.
=D>

Now hopefully the selectmen can realize it for what it was and get over it.
:sl:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
447 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Latest in Pelham shooting accident

Mixed reactions to Fleury

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By PHYLLIS LEHRER, Staff Writer
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Saturday, October 11, 2003 -- PELHAM - As they consider Police Chief Edward Fleury's apology this week for accidentally firing a loaded gun during a recent firearms safety course, some residents say he should lose his job, while others defend him and say he should stay.
"With something as drastic as this I believe he should be let go. This is a very, very serious situation. It's very fortunate no one was hurt. If he is such a professional with guns this shouldn't have happened. This is too serious to be put under the rug," said Diane Shepard of North Valley Road.

However, Joan Temkin, a Harkness Road resident, takes a milder stance.

"It was an honest mistake, fortunately not a tragic mistake. It wasn't tragic because he followed proper procedures," said Temkin. "I don't think he should be fired."

In a one-page letter to the public, Fleury on Monday apologized for the incident, which occurred Sept. 26 as he demonstrated the proper shooting stance to a class of six students. Not knowing his gun was loaded, he pulled the trigger and a bullet went through the wall and into the steel door frame at the Community Center.

Officials declined to comment on the matter until Monday, when Fleury issued his letter.

In it, he outlines newly implemented safety measures for the town-sponsored gun-safety classes that would help prevent another such incident.

Fleury was certified as a firearms instructor in 1982.

Questioning town response

Adrian Wilkins of Enfield Road, who attended the class, is among the residents voicing support for the chief.

He said Fleury followed proper safety precautions, checking the rifle's magazine and opening and closing the action twice.

"It appears the cartridge was struck or the extractors were not properly gripping the shell," Wilkins said in a telephone interview Thursday.

"When you have a mechanical problem the other precaution that is most important is not to point at anyone and he didn't," said Wilkins.

Buffam Road resident Willard Weeks, who is also a hunter, said Fleury shouldn't be disciplined.

"Accidents do happen and this was an accident," said Weeks, who identified himself as a friend of the chief. Weeks described a similar situation.

"I had a pistol and didn't realize it had a shell in it. I handed it to a friend. He pointed it at people and fired. I was terrified. I'm grateful no one was shot. The cardinal rule is don't point at people. If that is followed there would never be an accident," he said.

"I have great confidence in our chief. I know he is a real expert on firearms and very conscientious in the course he does. I would accept his apology. I know him to be a very sincere person. We need to be as fair and impartial," said Theodore Slate, Amherst Road, former long-time school committee member.

Other residents say they are unhappy with the way the incident was investigated and with the lack of disciplinary action against Fleury.

John Trickey of Daniel Shays Highway said the state police should have been called in to conduct an impartial investigation.

"They would have been able to handle it within 24 hours and report it to the Board of Selectmen. It would have been above-board," he said.

Robert Keyes of Packardville Road agreed.

"I thought it should have been investigated by an outside source," said Keyes.

He said Fleury should be suspended and a letter of reprimand put in his file. "There has to be some paper trail of what happened," he said.

"I have no problem keeping him on. I'm sure it was an accident," said Alberta Booth of Arnold Road. "Knowing him I am sure he is reprimanding himself. He must feel devastated."

Still, she said she believes some sort of disciplinary action would be appropriate.

Rene Suprenant of Daniel Shays Highway agreed that Fleury should be disciplined.

"Anyone else who shoots a firearm would be," he said.

He said Fleury should be put on unpaid leave. Suprenant, who said he is a hunter and has weapons, noted that the first rule is to check that the weapon isn't loaded.

The Board of Selectmen will discuss the issue Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhodes Building.

Copies of Fleury's letter are at the Rhodes Building, the library in the Community Center and on the town's Web site, www.townofpelham.org.

Phyllis Lehrer can be reached at [email protected].

I will post the story that comes out after the Selectmens meeting on Thursday.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Re: Who done it (many not suprised)

Stir'in it up a bit.

MCOA41 said:
Monday, October 6, 2003 -- PELHAM -

During the class Sept. 26, Fleury said he demonstrated the proper shooting stance. He pumped the rifle twice to demonstrate its action. He pointed at the wall, emphasizing that any weapon must be pointed in a safe direction and not toward any person, and PRESSED the trigger.

When it went off, he said he was dazed.
Fire Arms Saftey 101

Do not pull the trigger unless you INTEND to shoot your weapon.

Isn't it also taught not to put your finger in the well unless you intend to shoot?

Becoming complacent can kill, every precaution should be followed in a firearms saftey course. I have seen several instructors who remove the pin from those weapons they use in class. So if you really want to be a prick on this one I guess you could. I think everyone who has worked around firearms for some time has found one in the pipe when they have least expected it. This is a quick reminder for everybody stay safe.
 

·
Retired Fed, Active Special
Joined
·
8,803 Posts
Re: Who done it (many not suprised)

dimen24 said:
Stir'in it up a bit.

MCOA41 said:
Monday, October 6, 2003 -- PELHAM -

During the class Sept. 26, Fleury said he demonstrated the proper shooting stance. He pumped the rifle twice to demonstrate its action. He pointed at the wall, emphasizing that any weapon must be pointed in a safe direction and not toward any person, and PRESSED the trigger.

When it went off, he said he was dazed.
Fire Arms Saftey 101

Do not pull the trigger unless you INTEND to shoot your weapon.

Isn't it also taught not to put your finger in the well unless you intend to shoot?

So if you really want to be a prick on this one I guess you could. .
Now look...............
Just cut it out
1.There are several legitimate reasons to "dry-fire" a weapon
2.Arguably he "Intended" to pull the trigger
3.Even if he didn't, triggers get pulled anyway.

Accidents WILL happen. Again if you're going to make statements like "Gun safety 101" remember the first rule of muzzle control. It makes up for mechanical or human error, and is the one rule that supercedes all others (IMHO)

Of course you could just be a prick like you mentioned
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
447 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Gun issue still leaves questions, Pelham residents told of l

Gun issue still leaves questions, Pelham residents told of legal advice

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By PHYLLIS LEHRER Staff Writer
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Friday, October 17, 2003 -- ( PELHAM ) Residents had a lot of questions Thursday night about an incident last month in which Police Chief Edward Fleury discharged a gun during a firearms safety class.
But the seven residents at the Board of Selectmen's meeting received few answers.

Selectmen Eli Kwartler, the board's liaison with the Police Department, said the board's legal advisers have told members not to comment.

The town receives legal advice from Kopelman and Paige of Northampton.

The incident occurred Sept. 26 as he demonstrated the proper shooting stance. The bullet went through the wall and into the steel door frame at the Community Center.

Fleury publicly apologized for the incident in a letter released last week. The letter also listed new safety guidelines to be implemented as a result of the incident.

Fleury said last night that if a firearms course is offered again the handgun portion wouldn't be held at the center.

Resident Alice Suprenant asked why the state police or the district attorney's office weren't called in to investigate.

Fleury said Kwartler and two officers investigated.

''To break the law you have to have specific intent, and there was no intent; it was an accident,'' he said.

''At the time I did what I thought was appropriate. If something of this magnitude happens in any department it would be handled differently,'' Kwartler said, calling the incident ''an overwhelming situation.''

Selectman Richard Hall agreed and said the board will develop new policies and guidelines to use in the future.

Robert Keyes, of Packardville Road, said the chief needs to be disciplined.

''That would solve it and would solve my problem with it,'' he said. ''

''We will do the right thing,'' Kwartler said.

However, given the board's restrictions, the public may never know.

''If we don't have a chief we would know it, but if there is a reprimand or not we don't know,'' said Michael Hussin, a member of the Pelham School Committee.

Kwartler said this morning that personnel matters, such as discipline of an officer, are handled in closed-door sessions.

''Executive session means by definition it has to be private. We will follow the law.''

However, board members pledged to check with town counsel to find out what they can reveal after a closed-door session.

''We will make public the very most we can. We owe it to the community,'' said Kwartler.

In a prepared statement at the beginning of the meeting, board Chairman Edward Martin said newspaper accounts suggesting that the board was dragging its feet or trying to cover up ''were unfair and completely untrue.''

''We wanted to get all the facts and legal advice before making a judgment,'' he said.

Phyllis Lehrer can be reached at [email protected].
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Re: Who done it (many not suprised)

mpd61 said:
Of course you could just be a prick like you mentioned
You are 100% correct, 1st rule is muzzle control, and it does make up for mech. and human error. The incident is just point in case to follow ALL of the rules not just the most important one(s). As long as at the end of the day everybody goes home. Even the pricks. :lol:
 

·
Retired Fed, Active Special
Joined
·
8,803 Posts
Very true indeed sir!
:wink:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
447 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The latest

Pelham panel mum on action in gunshot incident

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By PHYLLIS LEHRER Staff Writer
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Saturday, November 01, 2003 -- ( PELHAM ) The Board of Selectmen says it has concluded its investigation of last month's gun-firing incident and taken appropriate administrative action, but has declined to reveal what the action was.
Police Chief Edward Fleury publicly apologized for discharging a rifle during a firearms safety course Sept. 26. The incident occurred as he demonstrated the proper shooting stance, he said. The bullet went through the wall and into the steel door frame at the Community Center. In a public statement, Fleury said he would take steps to ensure such an error would not happen again.

In a release issued Wednesday, the board said it supported Fleury's response to the incident.

After its meeting Monday night, the board met in closed-door session for the purpose of discussing an employee. Fleury was at the meeting.

''The board does not comment or give specifics about internal personnel issues. By law, personnel issues are not public information,'' said Sandra Burgess, the town's administrative assistant.

However, Robert Keyes of Packardville Road said he is not satisfied with the board's stance.

''They should say what the appropriate administrative action was.'' He has said that he thinks Fleury should be suspended and a letter of reprimand put in his file.

The reaction of residents to the incident has ranged from those who said he should be fired or disciplined, to those who said it was an accident and no discipline was necessary.

''I hope we put the incident behind us and move forward,'' Fleury said Wednesday in a telephone interview. He said the incident could serve as a lesson about the overall message of gun safety: Take extra precautions when any firearm is handled, as and mechanical failures can occur.

''I want to thank the selectmen for their patience and professionalism during this incident. I want to thank the townspeople who offered me support,'' Fleury said.

The board's statement will be posted on the town's Web site: townofpelham.org

Phyllis Lehrer can be reached at [email protected].
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
103 Posts
It's another example of why LIVE ammunition should never be allowed at firearms training except for on the firing range. We are all human and will make errors in judgement, have accidents and make mistakes, it's human nature. He made a mistake and he learned from it.


Ed
 

·
Subscribing Member
Joined
·
3,289 Posts
I wonder what the Chief's reaction would have been if, instead of it being him that accidentally fired the weapon, it had been a patrolman? Would he have been as forgiving and backed his officer??
 

·
Retired Fed, Active Special
Joined
·
8,803 Posts
PBC FL Cop said:
I wonder what the Chief's reaction would have been if, instead of it being him that accidentally fired the weapon, it had been a patrolman? Would he have been as forgiving and backed his officer??
Interesting point. let's take it a step further.......................
a Florida Deputy does the same thing, does the Sheriff back him up?
:wink:
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top