From The Benton Courier:
For the time being, officials with the Saline County Sheriff’s Department are not discussing an incident Monday which a deputy’s firearm apparently discharged accidentally at the International House of Pancakes (IHOP) restaurant in Benton.A negligent discharge in an IHOP restroom, what a mess. You have to take this article with a grain of salt as it is not a first hand report of what was said by the officer, but the report of a businessman who arrived after the incident and wishes to remain anonymous. But if the officer's first reaction was to try and cover up the fact that he had a negligent discharge, this does not say much for the officer. What is worse is the way this incident is being handled by the Sheriff.
The incident reportedly occurred sometime during the noon hour.
A local businessman who arrived at the restaurant after the incident said he was told about the gunshot by a restaurant employee.
According to that account, a deputy who had been at the restaurant for lunch accidentally discharged his weapon while he was in the men’s restroom. The shot reportedly went through the restroom ceiling, where there is a bullet hole.
Several people inside the restaurant apparently heard the shot.
According to the businessman, who asked to remain anonymous, the restaurant employee asked the deputy what the noise was and the deputy allegedly replied, “The toilet seat fell, making the noise.” “And with that, (the deputy) proceeded to walk out of the restaurant,” the businessman said. “He lied to the waitress on his way out the door, according to her.”
A member of management with IHOP reportedly followed the deputy into the parking lot. The IHOP representative “confronted (the deputy) on the parking lot and then he ’fessed up to it,” the employee said.
The deputy involved in the incident is described as a “heavy-set guy” and is believed to be an employee in the warrants division, but this has not been confirmed.This Sheriff sure is doing a lot of "not commenting". What would the Sheriff's reaction have been if the person in the restroom was a CHL holder? I can just about guarantee that the CHL holder's name would be at the top of this story, that the Sheriff would be commenting on the amount of damage to the building and the safety hazard posed to the other patrons of the restaurant. But since the offender in this incident is an only one, different rules apply.
According to an employee in the county human resources office, deputies are required to fill out a report any time they discharge their weapons, whether accidentally or on purpose, unless it is done on the firing range.
The incident was discussed briefly Monday night in a meeting of the Saline County Quorum Court Finance Committee. In that setting, Justice of the Peace Doug Curtis, who chairs the committee, asked sheriff’s Capt. Jason Massey how much damage the county would be responsible for because of the incident. Massey said the incident was being investigated and that he would not comment on it.
After the meeting, Massey said no one was hurt in the incident. He declined to say whether the employee is still on active duty or how long he expects the investigation to take.
Massey was asked whether a report is required any time a deputy’s weapon is discharged. His response was that “whatever report would be made is an internal report that goes toward the investigation.”
“All of this goes through a process,” he added. “That’s what this is going to go through.”
Massey said that “everything that is under our policy procedure is abided by when we open an investigation. Once it gets through that, we’ll let it go.”