NY firefighter who shot own hand won't face criminal charges

City firefighters are not allowed to carry a gun while on duty; the fire department is conducting its own investigation of the incident

By Emily Masters
Times Union

ALBANY, N.Y. — The on-duty city firefighter who accidentally shot himself in the hand Feb. 10 will not be criminally charged, city police said.

"Our investigation determined that it was an accidental discharge and no crime had been committed," Albany police spokesman Officer Steve Smith said.

The fire department is still conducting its own investigation and may take disciplinary action against the firefighter, Fire Chief Warren Abriel said.

City firefighters, who are full-time employees, are not allowed to carry a gun while on duty, Abriel said.

Police officers went to the Arbor Hill firehouse for a report of shots fired at about 12:20 p.m., Smith said. He declined to identify who called the police.

The firefighter, who has not been identified, was inside his assigned bunk room when he found a loaded semi-automatic Glock handgun in his overnight bag, the police incident report states. He decided to unload the gun and lock it in his car for the duration of his shift, the report states.

But, as the firefighter tried to empty the gun, his left hand covered the muzzle. When he accidentally fired a shot, the bullet went into his left palm and out his wrist, police records state.

The firefighter was taken to Albany Medical Center Hospital by fellow city firefighters and Mohawk Ambulance Services with non-life-threatening injuries, the incident report states. Mohawk Ambulance Services declined to comment.

A detective recovered the gun at the scene for "safe keeping," Smith said. The firefighter legally owns the handgun with a valid pistol permit, he said.

The accidental shooting drew a heavy police and fire presence, including department brass, to the North Manning Boulevard firehouse.

Four detectives, a sergeant and Commander Darrell Gipson responded, along with fire department Chief Abriel, Deputy Chief Joseph Gregory and Battalion Chief Gregory Sokaris, police records state.

Copyright 2017 the Times Union

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