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Police investigate reportedly accidental shooting of H.B. officer

The victim, a member of the SWAT team, got a bullet in the leg but is expected to make a full recovery, H.B. captain says.

July 25, 2012|By Mona Shadia

The Huntington Beach Police Department is conducting an internal investigation into last week's accidental shooting of a SWAT officer by another member of the department, authorities said.

The 20-year veteran officer, who was shot in the leg when another officer's gun was accidentally discharged, underwent an emergency surgery at the UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange and is expected to make a full recovery, Capt. Russ Reinhart said last week. Doctors have recovered the bullet from his leg.

The accident happened at about 10 p.m. July 18 while the SWAT team officers were cleaning their firearms at the station after a day of training, Reinhart said. There were 12 officers in the room when the weapon was discharged.

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Reinhart said it all appears to have been an accident. The department, however, plans to run an internal investigation in addition to an investigation by the Orange County Sheriff's Department, which is the case when officers are involved in shootings.

"It appears to be just an unfortunate accident," Reinhart said. "But despite that, we'll still do the outside investigation by the Sheriff's Department and we'll do an internal investigation after that.

"Just because it was an accident doesn't mean we don't look into it."

Reinhart could not be reached for comment Wednesday regarding the progress of the case.

The officer whose gun was discharged has been with the department for 13 years.

His weapon accidentally fired a bullet that hit the floor and bounced back, striking the SWAT officer, Reinhart said.

Reinhart would not provide the names the two officers to protect their privacy while the investigations are underway and while the injured officer recovers.

mona.shadia@latimes.com

Twitter: @MonaShadia

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