LPD Chief Stevens closes Firing Range, cancels classes after two negligent discharge incidents

LPD Chief Stevens closes Firing Range, cancels classes after two negligent discharge incidents

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Lubbock Police Chief Greg Stevens held a news conference at 10:30 a.m. about two recent negligent firearm discharges at the Lubbock Police Department Firing Range. He announced he has closed the police firing range and canceled all training after two negligent discharge of a firearm incidents in two weeks.

The first one happened Sept. 28 where an officer was at his vehicle after shooting at the range. He was tearing down his weapon to clean it when the gun went off and went through a side window.

The second happened on Oct. 9 when an officer was breaking down his weapon inside the classroom when it discharged and shot into the ground.

No one was injured in either incident.

KCBD has learned the incidents happened because of improper handling of the semi-automatic pistols the police carry.

Before these two incident, there were three incidents prior to 2010 involving police issued firearms. Another incident happened in 2011 with an officer and a personal firearm.

"If one of these incidents occurs, that's a problem. That's something we need to look at. But when it happens twice, to me that's a systemic failure. We need to pause. We need to stop what we're doing and figure out why that's occurring," said Chief Stevens during the news conference.

The negligent discharge of a firearm by an officer is investigated by a shooting review board just like any other officer involved shooting.

"We've stopped training, we've paused. We're going to figure out why these two incidents occurred. We're going to fix those issues, and we're going to press on with training and continue to train the very best police officers across the United States of America. And my goal is to have that range back up and running in a week's time, because we're losing valuable training time right now," Chief Stevens said.

No disciplinary action has been taken at the time of publication.

The range will remain closed until the training has been modified to address the problem.

Lubbock Police Academy class coordinator Officer Jerry Mull demonstrated the way each officer is trained to disassemble their weapons after any training or firearms qualifications.

"What I would do is I would remove the ammunition source first, the magazine. Then I would eject the round that is in the chamber. Then I will always check my chamber, visually and physically and then I'll also check to make sure there is no magazine in it," Officer Mull said.

Chief Stevens says this basic safety training is something every officer goes through.

"If you follow those safety rules it's not easy at all to have a negligent discharge. But nonetheless, we want to figure out where the responsibility lies."

We will continue to update this story as we learn more.

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