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Posted: 6/15/2001 9:33:53 PM EDT
Online at: http://www.dallasnews.com/metro/stories/395176_arlofficer_16met.html The Dallas Morning News: Metro Arlington officer's death is ruled accidental Family still waits for results from two inquiries 06/16/2001 By Jason Trahan / Arlington Morning News An Arlington SWAT officer missed Cpl. Joseph Cushman with a fake bullet just minutes before he was accidentally killed by a live round, authorities said Friday. The summary of events was part of findings from the Tarrant County medical examiner released Friday that officially ruled his death accidental. The report confirmed that the fatal bullet came from Officer Blane Shaw's service pistol, which he fired during a June 7 training exercise at Ousley Junior High School. "I have no indication that he had the desire to kill the officer or there was any criminal intent," Dr. Nizam Peerwani said. "He thought he was picking up a gun that could shoot the plastic rounds." Jim Cushman, Cpl. Cushman's father and a retired police officer, said he was reserving judgment. "I need a chance to look at everything," the retired Fort Worth police officer said. "There are still two other investigations going on. I think it's only fair to wait until all the information is in." But he added: "Nothing that they find out can bring him back." He said he has not spoken to Officer Shaw. "We're still getting over losing Joey," he said. "There's so much that my mind is clogged." Officer Shaw could not be reached for comment. His lawyer, Richard Carter, did not return phone messages. Police said Friday that they are continuing their investigation into the incident. "I've said from day one that it appears we are dealing with an accidental shooting at a training exercise," Arlington police spokesman Sgt. James Hawthorne said. The department is concluding its criminal investigation and expects to release findings next week, he said. "I don't think we have anything to hide here," he said. "I think when we do talk about it, we will be forthcoming. Our investigation will be thorough and exhaustive [to] bring confidence to the people who work for us that we aren't going to have another tragedy like this." Dr. Peerwani said that just before the fatal shot, one of three trainers fired a shotgun – altered to shoot only fake bullets – at Cpl. Cushman's head as part of a demonstration. The fake bullet lodged in the wall behind Cpl. Cushman, who had volunteered for the demonstration, authorities said. "At this point, because the demonstration failed, Officer Shaw decided to complete the demonstration by firing a handgun," the medical examiner said.
Link Posted: 6/15/2001 9:34:27 PM EDT
"[Officer] Shaw stepped in front of [Cpl.] Cushman, and he drew his weapon and shot him with a live round." It is unclear whether Officer Shaw drew his service weapon from his holster or whether he picked it up from a nearby table of training pistols loaded with simulated ammo, Dr. Peerwani said. "This was a regular, nonsimulation weapon. It is a service pistol issued to Shaw. The gun is not marked [as a practice gun] in any way," he said. Training weapons typically have markings that distinguish them from guns that shoot live ammo. The fake rounds can be shot from regular service weapons converted to shoot the simulated ammo, or from training guns outfitted to shoot only that ammo. Arlington police have not said which types of guns were present that day at Ousley. Ballistics tests confirmed that the 9 mm hollow-point bullet recovered during the autopsy matched Officer Shaw's gun, a semiautomatic Glock 17 service pistol. Tests also revealed that the gun was mechanically sound and in working order, Dr. Peerwani said. This story also appears in the Arlington Morning News. © 2001 DallasNews.com
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