Edgewater Police Investigate Officer’s Negligent Discharge Of AR-15

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 5 months ago

News from Florida:

An Edgewater police officer is under investigation for accidentally discharging a rifle while answering what turned out to be a hoax call, a police official said.

Timothy Huggins, a 16-year veteran of the Edgewater Police Department, discharged his firearm as he and another officer were at a home in the city checking out reports of a hostage situation, Edgewater police Capt. Joe Mahoney said Tuesday.

And, Daniel Mease, 25, a Marine veteran who said he was at his father’s Kumquat Drive home visiting for Memorial Day, claims Huggins was careless and negligent with the handling of his firearm.

The incident has set in motion an internal affairs investigation to determine the circumstances that caused the firearm to discharge, Mahoney said.

“We want to make sure that this type of accident does not occur again,” Mahoney said.

The hostage call turned out to be a hoax, Mahoney said.

Edgewater police were dispatched to 1924 Kumquat Drive at 8:20 p.m. Monday after getting a call from Hillsborough County authorities saying that they had taken a call from a man — Robert James Ware — claiming to have a hostage at the Edgewater home, Mahoney said.

“Hillsborough County dispatchers were able to link the call to the home on Kumquat Drive and we sent our officers there to do a well-being check,” Mahoney said.

Turns out Ware, who had the Kumquat Drive home as a previous address, is in the Collier County jail, an Edgewater police report shows.

According to Volusia dispatchers, Hillsborough investigators believed the hostage call was a “spoof call” — one that displays a different number than the calling phone — but needed to have Edgewater police verify it.

Huggins was one of two officers sent to the home.

“(Huggins) had an accidental discharge of his AR-15,” Mahoney said. “The bullet went into the ground and it did not hit a home.”

The report states Huggins’ “finger was outside the trigger guard at the time of the accidental discharge.”

Mease, who said he was outside the home when the other officers arrived, claims Huggins and the other officer were about 5 feet behind him when the rifle fired.

“I told them there was no hostage situation at my father’s house,” Mease said. “I told them nothing was going on and that I had just walked out of my father’s home.”

Mease said Huggins pointed the AR-15 while the other officer aimed a Taser at him and asked him for identification. As Mease, who retired from the U.S. Marine Corps after a seven-month tour in Afghanistan, walked to his car to get his ID, followed by the officers, he heard the shot behind him, he said.

A report states Mease got belligerent when approached by the officers and got more agitated when the firearm discharged. Officers had to wrestle Mease to take away a 9-inch knife he had on his side, police said.

Now for the event post-mortem.  Someone lied on the report.  Huggins’ finger was not outside the trigger guard at the time of the negligent discharge.  Guns don’t just go off.  Someone has to pull the trigger.  I suspect that he stumbled and had a sympathetic muscle reflex, causing him to squeeze the trigger.  A person can be trained to overcome this sympathetic reaction (like my son during his pre-deployment workup as a SAW gunner), but this officer is a goofball, and few if any civilian police will ever be trained to such a level.

As for the knife, they only imagined that they “had to wrestle Mease to take away a 9-inch knife he had on his side.”  They didn’t really have to do that.  They just made that up.  They could have decided to carry only their side arm, shake his hand, and ask how he was doing.  Instead they decided to act like members of the local gang.

Finally, as I note every time I write about these events (and they happen on a daily basis in America), notice the lack of muzzle discipline.  As one commenter of mine put so well, “If you need to speak with the occupant, make an appointment.”  They have no right to invade domiciles and point weapons at people.  In this instance the police were played for idiots, and they decided to act the part.

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Comments

  1. On May 29, 2014 at 7:06 am, peggysue said:

    They can now do anything they want, with the blessings of government and their appointed jurists. How convenient….

  2. On May 29, 2014 at 8:38 am, Jack Beckmann said:

    You can treat them like rocket scientests and pay them like rocket scientests, just don’t expect them to act like rocket scientests. It just ain’t there.

  3. On May 29, 2014 at 1:35 pm, Leigh Rich said:

    Christ…I remember in the Military it happened a lot. As long as no damage no big deal.

  4. On May 29, 2014 at 2:16 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Right. No big deal. Tell that to your infantry Marine, or try that at your local shooting range. I don’t believe you were actually in the military if you think this is “no big deal.” And I don’t believe that “it happened at lot.” What the hell kind of unit were you in where it “happened a lot?”

  5. On May 29, 2014 at 2:59 pm, will said:

    It’s not my experience that it “happened a lot”. It would also certainly be a big deal as it reflects the level of training.

  6. On May 29, 2014 at 3:02 pm, robertsgunshop said:

    I don’t know what military you were in, but the Marine Corps I served in a negligent discharge was good for at least a article 15.

  7. On May 29, 2014 at 9:52 pm, Leigh Rich said:

    My god…never a marine.
    Chicago police are above the law. This is a non issue.

  8. On May 30, 2014 at 1:46 pm, Geodkyt said:

    I damned near got an Article 15 for an ND, WITH BLANKS, with the muzzle pointed in what would have been a safe direction if it had been a ball round, near the end of a two week field exercise where the OPTEMPO meant lack of sleep had guys hallucinating.
    I was told the ONLY reason I didn;t get an Article 15 was because of the sleep dep situation.

  9. On May 30, 2014 at 7:03 pm, charles w said:

    Same in the Army.

  10. On May 29, 2014 at 3:04 pm, robertsgunshop said:

    I noticed in another linked article, they are blaming the ND on his key ring.

    http://www.news-journalonline.com/article/20140528/NEWS/140529502/1040

    I want to know why the safety was off. .

  11. On May 29, 2014 at 3:43 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Yea. That was it. Damn key ring. It gets me every time.

  12. On May 29, 2014 at 6:55 pm, TimeHasCome said:

    I was raised in Mayberry not Baghdad . Here is another story.http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/toddler-critically-burned-during-swat-raid/nf9SJ/

  13. On May 29, 2014 at 7:14 pm, VonZorch Imperial Researcher said:

    No doubt the internal investigation will find that the fine upstanding super competent officer did nothing wrong.

  14. On May 30, 2014 at 1:47 pm, Geodkyt said:

    Seriously, though – why was the selector on any position but SAFE in the first place? It doesn’t add ANY time to flick it off as you come to a firing position (even from a hyper-alert low ready).

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