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S.C. deputies disciplined after ‘horseplay’ during training leads to officer being shot

One deputy fired a blank round from his simulation firearm, then a colleague shot back with a loaded gun

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Greenville County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook

By Simone Jasper
The Charlotte Observer

GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. — A South Carolina deputy fired a blank round — then a colleague shot back with a loaded gun, officials said.

The real bullet “inadvertently” hit the first deputy, sending him to a hospital with a foot injury, according to the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office. Now, about two weeks after officials said they began investigating the act of “horseplay” that went awry, several deputies face suspension.

“While I understand accidents occur, moments of carelessness will not be tolerated under my leadership,” Sheriff Hobart Lewis said in a March 8 news release. “I will ensure that the deputies involved will undergo extensive remedial training following their discipline so they can take the appropriate steps of returning to serving others in the manner they are called to do.”

The case dates to Feb. 22, when officials started an investigation. During a “controlled” training exercise in Abbeville County, deputies used blank rounds and had access to a simunition gun, which uses fake ammunition.

“It was discovered that after the training exercise, GCSO deputies were securing their equipment when one of the deputies discharged a blank round from a simunition gun in what was determined to be horseplay,” the sheriff’s office wrote. “In response, another deputy discharged his weapon, inadvertently striking the deputy in the foot, forgetting he had already transitioned back to his duty weapon.”

The injured deputy was given medical treatment and taken to a hospital before he was released, officials said.

The sheriff’s office put the two deputies on administrative leave before they reportedly were disciplined for “careless use of a firearm” and “improper handling of a firearm.”

“Both deputies have been given a 10-day suspension, placed on the Performance Improvement Plan, and will undergo remedial training,” the sheriff’s office wrote.

Also, a supervisor accused of not properly monitoring weapons is expected to be suspended for three days and faces additional training, according to officials.

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