BOSTON (CBS) – Two MIT police officers are lucky to be alive after a Rhode Island officer’s gun accidentally went off shortly after Weymouth Police Sgt. Michael Chesna’s funeral.
Both officers were hit by debris when the Cranston officer’s gun accidentally went off in a staging area for police. The bullet ricocheted on the pavement and parts of the asphalt struck the officers. One, according to sources, is still out on injured leave.
It happened after the final salute to Weymouth Police Sgt. Michael Chesna. The Funeral, nearly two weeks ago, drew thousands of police from around the country who came to pay their respects to a fallen hero.
Heartbroken family and friends, overcome with grief, had no idea that just moments later, the tragedy could have been much worse. “It would have been an unspeakable tragedy, horrific to see someone seriously injured or fatally injured at of all places at a funeral of a police officer who was killed in the line of duty,” said criminal justice professor Tom Nolan.
The I-Team has learned that a Cranston Rhode Island Police Sergeant, who was part of the Honor Guard, accidentally fired his gun after the funeral. In the police incident report, the Cranston Sergeant told Braintree investigators: “He was changing out of his honor guard uniform and took his gun belt off. While trying to put the belt away, his weapon fell from the holster and he tried to catch it which caused the weapon to discharge.”
“It’s the officer’s responsibility to safeguard his weapon,” Nolan explained. “I can assure you that no one is more embarrassed about this discharge than the officer who failed to secure his weapon.”
It happened on the Cranston Police Department’s bus that was parked in the lot of Century Stone in Braintree which was being used as a staging area for officers attending the graveside service at Blue Hills Cemetery. The bullet went through the bus and ricocheted onto the pavement, hitting one MIT officer in the hand and the other just above the eye. Both female officers refused medical treatment at the scene. “We are very lucky someone wasn’t seriously injured or killed,” Nolan said talking about the seriousness of the incident.
Cranston Police Chief, Colonel Michael Winquist, tells the I-Team the department is conducting an investigation into what happened and told the I-Team in a statement, “The shooting review team will present their findings… along with their recommendations regarding any correctional measures that can be taken to prevent a reoccurrence.”
Because the incident didn’t result in any serious injuries, the sergeant involved has not been disciplined and remains on active duty.