Officer suspended three weeks for daughter's shooting

Author: Rob Kauder, Internet Content Manager, robk@kxly.com
Published On: Jul 25 2012 03:32:11 PM PDT   Updated On: Jul 25 2012 03:38:39 PM PDT
 barry o'connell
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Spokane police officer Barry O'Connell has been suspended for three weeks from the force following an accidental shooting in April where his daughter shot herself with his service weapon at home.

The City of Spokane announced O'Connell's suspension Wednesday afternoon. Interim Police Chief Scott Stephens said that O'Connell did not comply with departmental policies regarding securing service weapons in their home.

O'Connell's 10-year-old daughter was able to get his service weapon and shot herself accidentally in the leg on Easter Sunday.

Prosecutors, who later declined to press charges following the Spokane County Sheriff's Office investigation of the shooting, said that O'Connell cleaned his service weapon and put it on the dresser near his bedroom window. His family then went to church and then came home for their Easter dinner.

O'Connell's daughter finished dinner early, went upstairs with her friend into her parents' room so they could look out into their backyard to try and see where Easter eggs were hidden.

The girls began to play with the gun on the dresser and it went off, hitting O'Connell's daughter.

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office took over the shooting investigation at the police department's request. Following the investigation prosecutors declined to press any charges against O'Connell.

In addition to his suspension, O'Connell will have to watch an education video about gun safety. The disciplinary action adds that another incident like this one, which involved "poor judgment" will lead to his firing from the department.