Today Eugene, Oregon is in mourning for yet another gun-related tragedy.
This time it is for an accidental shooting. Officer Jerry Webber accidently shot himself with a hunting rifle as he was removing the gun from his vehicle to practice at a local shooting range. He was off-duty, and was there with a friend. The wound was fatal at the scene.
What makes this sad story remarkable is that this is a long-time officer of the force, hired and sworn-in in 1994. He was promoted to sergeant in 2003, had lectured at local high schools and the University of Oregon, was a SWAT team member, and had served on vice-narcotics, internal affairs, and honor guard.
Yet, despite all that training and expertise, he made the mistake of keeping his weapon loaded during transport, and failing to safeguard it during removal.
Related side note regarding local gun violence: Sgt. Webber was one of 9 SWAT team members who responded to a domestic violence call back on 1/18/03 and fatally shot an attacker in Creswell, Oregon in a justified shooting.
I think I met Sgt. Webber at last year's annual Eugene Police Department's "Prevention Convention" held at Sheldon High School. If I'm not mistaken, he had shown me and my children the weapons and equipment used by the Eugene Police Departments SWAT team at a display there (in the area where kids could enter and sit in police vehicles).
Some of the commenters to this site in the past, and at other sites, have said that they could never make such a mistake. I'm pretty sure this experienced policeman might have said the same thing. No matter how experienced you are, one must never lose sight of the deadly nature of your weapon. Always remember the four rules of firearms. When I was taught to shoot as a Boy Scout, that was the first lesson. I would also add that a firearm should always be unloaded and double-checked before transport.
My heart goes out to the Webber family in this time of sadness. He is survived by a wife and daughter. Not only is a good man lost, but that is one less hero to safeguard our community.