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Investigation underway after 3rd grader fires cop’s gun in gym

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A Maplewood police officer’s gun was fired by a child Monday afternoon at the Harmony Learning Center, according to police.

No one was injured in the incident, which occurred about 1:44 p.m. in the center’s gym at 1961 E. County Road C.

“Obviously it’s concerning anytime there’s some sort of a weapon discharged,” said Maplewood Police Chief Scott Nadeau. “We want to make sure that we do our due diligence in terms of breaking down exactly what happened.”

According to Nadeau and a news release by Maplewood police: School liaison officer Lonn Bakke was in the gym with third- and fourth-graders “interacting with them and building relationships.”

The officer was seated on a bench with students.

A third-grader sitting next to the officer “reached over and placed his finger into the officer’s gun holster and pressed the trigger.” The gun fired through the bottom of the holster and the round struck the floor.

“The officer was unaware of the child touching his gun until the weapon discharged,” the news release said. “The holster was a department-approved level 3 security holster, with trigger guard, that typically cannot be touched or fired in the holster, but the child’s small finger was able to reach inside.”

The officer was wearing the holster on his hip at the time.

“I think the child had no intention of firing a gun,” Nadeau said. “My impression was that it was a curiosity thing.”

The incident is being reviewed and the style of holster involved is being evaluated. Nadeau said level 3 holsters are “very common” among law enforcement.

“It’s certainly a very unusual incident,” Nadeau said, “but we want to make sure that we’re looking at equipment and training and do whatever we can do to make sure something like this never happens again here or somewhere else.”

Representatives for the learning center and North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District could not be reached for comment late Monday.

(c)2018 the Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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