A 13-year-old girl accidentally shot herself in the leg on Monday with a police officer’s gun in Gilroy, California - the second time in three years that a child grabbed an officer’s gun in that town and fired it. In the 2012 case, the accident was deadly.
Sgt. Royce Heath said police and firefighters were called out to the home, owned by a Gilroy police officer, who is the girl's stepfather, about 3 p.m. There, they found the teen suffering from a non-life threatening, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the leg. It was not his service weapon, Heath said.
She was taken to the hospital, Heath said, and was listed in stable condition. Her stepfather is taking his "normal days off," Heath said, and isn't scheduled to return to work until Friday. It has not yet been determined, Heath said, if he will be placed on any type of administrative leave. He would not state how many years the officer had been on the force.
The preliminary investigation revealed that she got the officer’s firearm and accidently discharged the weapon into her leg at the home in the 500 block of El Ceritto Way, Heath said.
Police did say there was an adult home at the time of the shooting.
In July 2012, Officer Brandon Orlando’s 3-year-old son, Preston, grabbed his father’s gun and killed himself with his dad’s Glock 30, which he thought he had put in the lockbox under the bed, but had put in the top wicker draw of his nightstand before falling asleep. Two months later, prosecutors decided not to charge Orlando, a nine-year veteran of the San Jose Police Department, with any crime.
He could have possibly faced a misdemeanor charge of improperly storing a gun at his Gilroy home because the law generally states that adults must lock up their weapons, keeping children out of harm's way.
Still, prosecutors in that case found that there was no criminal negligence, and that even though it may appear counter intuitive, a mitigating factor while applying the law is whether someone has attended firearm safety courses, which Orlando did in his role as a peace officer.
Gilroy police are looking into the matter involving the girl, and will forward the results of the investigation to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office for review.