Baltimore, MD — A Baltimore County police officer shot a 14-year-old boy Monday night while moonlighting as an apartment complex security guard.
Police said two security guards were working off-duty at the Woodridge apartment complex who were investigating reports of people inside apartments that were under construction.
The officer who shot the teen told police that he saw someone come out on a balcony. He said he was pointing his weapon at the balcony, and it simply went off.
The officer “was pointing the weapon in the direction of the balcony” when “his weapon discharged accidentally,” the department said in a statement.
Either this officer is lying about what actually happened or they have never heard of one of the most important rules of firearm safety:
“Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.”
Police spokesman Cpl. John Wachter said he did not have an updated condition of the teen Tuesday morning. Police have not yet identified the officer or the victim.
Wachter said police believe the teen had been “standing in the area of the sliding glass door for the balcony.” The officer who shot the teen was on a hill which put him slightly above eye-level with the balcony.
“Due to the weather and lighting conditions, it is not likely that the officer was able to determine how old the person was or even what gender the person was,” Wachter said.
The off-duty officer whose weapon “accidentally discharged,” has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.
The term “accidental discharge” in this instance is a strawman. It is highly unlikely that the officer’s weapon malfunctioned and shot off a round with no trigger pull; nor did the officer believe he was in a training environment shooting blanks and accidently fired a live round.
This officer had his weapon out, with the intent to use it. If he didn’t intend to kill the boy on the balcony, then he shouldn’t have pulled the trigger.
Using the term “accidental” defers the liability away from the officer. The appropriate term in this instance, if this story isn’t entirely fabricated, is negligent discharge. At the very least, the injuries sustained by this boy were negligently inflicted upon him by this officer.
Had a common citizen done this exact same thing, they would be sitting in a jail cell right now.
It is quite unfortunate that most people will accept this as some tragic accident, which could have been avoided had these kids simply chosen to play elsewhere. They will miss the point entirely, of a weapon being drawn by an overzealous and apparently trigger-happy officer.
Reports are saying that the boy’s injuries from the bullet are not life-threatening. Hopefully he makes a full recovery.