June 27, 1995 in City

Officer Shoots Self On Firearms Range

From Staff And Wire Reports

A 23-year-old state Gambling Commission officer accidentally shot himself Monday during training at the Spokane Police Academy.

Randy Johnson, of Vancouver, Wash., was on the firearms range with 29 other recruits about 2 p.m. when he pulled his gun and it discharged.

The bullet hit Johnson in the upper right thigh and came out a few inches lower on his leg, police said. He was taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center, where he was treated and released.

The recruits, scheduled to graduate Friday, were practicing a drill called “fighting out of a hole.” The trainees stand 3 feet from a target and pretend it’s a suspect who suddenly draws a weapon on the officer.

Recruits are taught to take two steps backward while drawing their guns, two steps to the side and fire. The maneuver is done without a gun several times, then practiced again with the real thing.

Academy Sgt. Mark Sterk said the training simulates a common encounter for police, who are supposed to keep their finger off the trigger until they take aim and decide it is time to fire.

Johnson is a member of the current training class, which is made up of recruits from several law enforcement agencies in the state.

, DataTimes

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