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Posted: 5/24/2005 10:16:15 AM EDT
Gun 'flew' from cop's hand
Renninger, Sollman bumped into each other, sources say.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
By JEFF COX
The Express-Times

Easton police Officer Matthew Renninger has told investigators he lost control of his service weapon and fatally shot Jesse Sollman accidentally after the two bumped into each other in a room used to clean guns, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

The encounter happened about 3:30 p.m. March 25, just minutes after Renninger cleaned his service revolver and used a substance on it called Gun Scrubber that left a "white powder" residue on the weapon, according to a source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Renninger was unsure of how to remove the residue and went looking for fellow officer Sollman to ask if he could help.

As Renninger sought out Sollman, he walked down a hallway in police headquarters on South Third Street, banging the loaded Heckler & Koch USP 40 against his leg. The act was caught on a video surveillance camera in the building, according to at least two sources with knowledge of the investigation that the Pennsylvania State Police and the state Attorney General's Office are conducting into Sollman's death.

Renninger then found Sollman in the 7-foot by 10-foot room where officers routinely go to clean their weapons following training. Both Renninger and Sollman were members of the department's Special Weapons and Tactics team that has since been ordered to stand down while the Sollman investigation continues.

The sources said Renninger and Sollman were not the only ones in the room. Also present was officer Robert Webber, a patrolman whom the sources said told investigators that he neither saw the shooting take place nor heard any conversation between Renninger and Sollman.

Renninger told the investigators that he found Sollman in the room and they discussed how to remove the residue, sources said. As Sollman started to leave the room, he and Renninger bumped into each and Renninger lost control of his weapon, sources said.

"The firearm flew out of his hand. He grabbed for (the gun) and in grabbing it, squeezed the trigger and shot Jesse as Jesse was walking out of the room," one source said, describing Renninger's account.

About an hour later, medical personnel pronounced Sollman, 36, dead at St. Luke's Hospital in Fountain Hill. He was a 10-year veteran of the force.

Authorities investigating the shooting have released few details and have not even officially named Renninger as the other officer involved. Various other sources have confirmed Renninger as the shooter, and he has been on paid administrative leave since Sollman's death.

Police Chief Stephen Mazzeo said Monday he could neither confirm nor deny the events surrounding the shooting because of the ongoing investigation. Likewise, Capt. Scott Snyder of the state police also said he was prohibited from commenting as long as the investigation continues, and he gave no time frame as to when it might wrap up.

Messages left with Renninger and his attorney, Gary Asteak, were not returned. Webber also could not be reached.

In recent days, Sollman's family has been sharply critical of the investigation and the conduct of the Easton Police Department. The family is expected to release a lengthy statement today through their attorney, John Karoly, calling for criminal charges against Renninger.

Sources with knowledge of the type of gun Easton officers use as service revolvers say the machinations of the weapon will be key to determining whether Renninger was negligent and thus open to charges.

Sgt. Barry Golazeski, the department's public information officer, said the H& K USP 40 is a "double- to single-action" gun. That essentially means that firing the gun without it having been previously cocked involves a longer, harder trigger pull. Single-action means the hammer on the gun is already cocked by hand, so that when the trigger is pulled the only action is the hammer being released into the firing pin. With double-action, a trigger pull first cocks the hammer, which is then released onto the firing pin, according to Paul Raynolds, a member of the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, an organization affiliated with the National Rifle Association.

Easton officers are not allowed to carry their weapons in the so-called "cocked and locked" position, which would allow for immediate and more rapid firing than in the double-action stage, Golazeski said.

The distinction is important, according to Raynolds.

He regularly conducts gun safety and information seminars for a variety of audiences and said he is well familiar with the Easton department's service weapon because he owns several of them.

While Raynolds said he had no direct information on the Sollman shooting, he was able to draw some conclusions based on the information presented to him by a reporter.

"I can tell you that he broke a couple of fundamental safety rules in the process of doing what he was doing," Raynolds said. "He should have had the gun holstered to begin with. If he has it out of the holster, there's a reason. There has to be some reason. He clearly didn't have one."

If Renninger planned on showing Sollman his gun, it should have been unloaded, Raynolds said.

Raynolds said it would be difficult to fire the gun while catching it because of the amount of pressure that would be needed on the trigger.

The Sollman shooting is not the first time a weapon has unintentionally discharged in the city police station. Chief Mazzeo said last week that there have been several instances in past years where officers' guns fired inside the headquarters, though he would not detail those events nor reveal what action if any was taken against the officers involved, saying they were personnel matters.

( Jeff Cox is assistant managing editor for The Express-Times. He can be reached at 610-258-7171 or by e-mail at jcox@express-times.com. )


www.pennlive.com/news/expresstimes/pa/index.ssf?/base/news-0/11169255597710.xml


Link Posted: 5/24/2005 10:20:26 AM EDT
IBTUSP40 comment
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 10:21:45 AM EDT
The only ones professional enough...
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 10:22:22 AM EDT
just in time
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 10:24:35 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/24/2005 10:29:59 AM EDT by NorCal_LEO]
I had never heard of the Hk USP service revolver before. Pics?

Media.

Another life lost to bad gun discipline.

Link Posted: 5/24/2005 10:24:55 AM EDT
Obvious question...


Why the hell was it loaded in the first place????
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 10:24:57 AM EDT

just minutes after Renninger cleaned his service revolver



banging the loaded Heckler & Koch USP 40 against his leg.


I want one of those H&K USP revolvers.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 10:25:00 AM EDT
I didn't know H&K made a revolver.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 10:25:12 AM EDT
Wow... according to Mr. Cox, H&K is making revolvers now! In .40! Whoo-hoo! I want one!
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 10:25:35 AM EDT
It's truly scary how many of these "professionals" don't know enough to clear/unload their weapon before cleaning it or doing any work on it...so another officer is dead.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 10:26:07 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/24/2005 10:27:01 AM EDT by operatorerror]
They called it a service revolver and then identified it as a USP 40.

Who uses gunscrubber on a loaded weapon?

ETA way too slow.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 10:27:31 AM EDT
It's a feature of the USP, I have the same gun. You have to say "olieolieoxenfree" and...(insert transformer sound here) it morphs into a revolver.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 10:29:11 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Hipster:
"The firearm flew out of his hand. He grabbed for (the gun) and in grabbing it, squeezed the trigger and shot ...



Never try to catch a dropped firearm!

Ive seen it on the range. Newbi was shooting a Glock 20 that was too big for his hand and the high ride holster was new and very tight. On the draw stroke he fumbled the draw so bad he dropped the pistol. He then caught the gun as it fell, pulling the trigger in the process and firing a round about 2' infront of him into the concrete floor!
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 10:30:23 AM EDT
Poor guy. Getting killed by your friend who was being an idiot is not the way to go.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 10:31:19 AM EDT

Originally Posted By AR15fan:

Originally Posted By Hipster:
"The firearm flew out of his hand. He grabbed for (the gun) and in grabbing it, squeezed the trigger and shot ...



Never try to catch a dropped firearm!

Ive seen it on the range. Newbi was shooting a Glock 20 that was too big for his hand and the high ride holster was new and very tight. On the draw stroke he fumbled the draw so bad he dropped the pistol. He then caught the gun as it fell, pulling the trigger in the process and firing a round about 2' infront of him into the concrete floor!



I am NOT going to comment on the Glock action.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 10:33:00 AM EDT

Originally Posted By CFII:
Poor guy. Getting killed by your friend who was being an idiot is not the way to go.



Just ask Pat Tillman apparently...
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 10:33:18 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 10:34:13 AM EDT

Originally Posted By IAMLEGEND:

The only ones professional enough...



+1
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 10:35:12 AM EDT

Originally Posted By AR15fan:

Originally Posted By Hipster:
"The firearm flew out of his hand. He grabbed for (the gun) and in grabbing it, squeezed the trigger and shot ...



Never try to catch a dropped firearm!

Ive seen it on the range. Newbi was shooting a Glock 20 that was too big for his hand and the high ride holster was new and very tight. On the draw stroke he fumbled the draw so bad he dropped the pistol. He then caught the gun as it fell, pulling the trigger in the process and firing a round about 2' infront of him into the concrete floor!



Wise words. Let it drop, cause it is easier to buff out a scratch in the finish of the gun than to buff out a GSW.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 10:43:09 AM EDT
Does everyone think that this was an unintentional discharge
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 10:46:11 AM EDT
But only the Police and the Military have enough training to bear arms

What a maroon!
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 10:47:22 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Hipster:
Does everyone think that this was an unintentional discharge



I thought the same thing.

You never Know but It sound suspiciouse
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 10:50:13 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 10:52:18 AM EDT
So....was this is an AD or a ND

(only because someone was going to start that argument eventually by calling it the "wrong" term)
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 10:52:22 AM EDT
It is possible he used Gun Scrubber on his loaded handgun. What is more likely is that he cleaned it and then loaded it. He then noticed this "residue" and for some reason did not think to just wipe it off with a clean rag. He sounds like a moron and he killed his friend.

Or he was having an affair with the guys wife and wanted him out of the way...............................................
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 10:55:30 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Aimless:

Originally Posted By AR15fan:

Originally Posted By Hipster:
"The firearm flew out of his hand. He grabbed for (the gun) and in grabbing it, squeezed the trigger and shot ...



Never try to catch a dropped firearm!




+10,000,000 let the damn thing fall on the ground!!



Yep, just like a soldering iron; let it go!
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 10:57:24 AM EDT
I want to know a whole lot more about any interaction these two had prior to this incident. It is either the biggest case of stupidity I've ever heard or a murder.

Come to think of it I think this is how Vic Mackey is planning on taking out Shane.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 10:59:59 AM EDT
My USPs have a 12 pound double action trigger pull. I doubt I could make it fire if I juggled it for an hour. Also the 3rd officer in the room heard no conversation between the 2 officers involved in the shooting. It doesn't appear to be an accident to me. The least charge is manslaughter/negligent homicide.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 11:00:12 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Hipster:
Does everyone think that this was an unintentional discharge




Call me a cynic, but I wonder the same thing.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 11:02:09 AM EDT
SWAT team member and he's trusted with an M16 or MP5?
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 11:08:54 AM EDT

Originally Posted By alaman:
SWAT team member and he's trusted with our lives on the other end of an M16 or MP5?

Link Posted: 5/24/2005 11:09:48 AM EDT

Originally Posted By fizassist:

Originally Posted By Aimless:

Originally Posted By AR15fan:

Originally Posted By Hipster:
"The firearm flew out of his hand. He grabbed for (the gun) and in grabbing it, squeezed the trigger and shot ...



Never try to catch a dropped firearm!




+10,000,000 let the damn thing fall on the ground!!



Yep, just like a soldering iron; let it go!



Your first instinct would be to grab what you dropped. I know you should let it go, but how many of you have made an automatic grab for something dropped?
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 11:11:20 AM EDT
I worked in Palmer PA doing Loss Prevention at a department store and on occasion Easton would respond to calls to pick kids up and i have never met a more childish/amatuer police department. i also worked in Philly, Upper Darby and several other areas doing LP and working closely with local police and honestly can say i was appalled at Easton and Palmer.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 11:17:25 AM EDT

Originally Posted By sum-rifle:
It is possible he used Gun Scrubber on his loaded handgun. What is more likely is that he cleaned it and then loaded it. He then noticed this "residue" and for some reason did not think to just wipe it off with a clean rag. He sounds like a moron and he killed his friend.

Or he was having an affair with the guys wife and wanted him out of the way...............................................




Or the other guy was banging his wife and he wanted to retaliate, but no that would never happen in the LEO community......
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 11:18:06 AM EDT
Plus the torture test done to a USP supposedly claims they can be dropped on the hammer from 6ft. WITHOUT it firing accidentally.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 11:33:45 AM EDT
Gun Scrubber will get sued out of existance. If their obviously defective product hadn't left the "white residue", the officers would never have had their "conversation" about said residue and they never would have bumped into each other, the revolver would have never flown out of Ofc. Renningers capable and well-trained hands and the rifle would never have discharged itself into Ofc. Sollman. It is a clear-cut case of a negligent cleaning product.




As Renninger sought out Sollman, he walked down a hallway in police headquarters on South Third Street, banging the loaded Heckler & Koch USP 40 against his leg. The act was caught on a video surveillance camera in the building,


He was walking thru the station with an unholstered weapon? It was a hit.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 11:48:16 AM EDT
I've never seen Gun Scrubber leave any kind of residue. That stuff evaporates quick. This is, in the least, a case of improper gun handling.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 12:00:03 PM EDT
I thought this was going to be a story about how the gun flew from his hands and ran down the street and strangled some kindergarteners to death and then toppled a struggling South American democracy all before shooting a puppy to death.hen Guns like to escape from their masters, run around killing people, and then you get the blame. Wake up America! hen
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 12:01:16 PM EDT
"I'm the only one professional enough in this room to handle a Glock 40... BANG"

Gun scrubber is brake cleaner. Brake cleaner leaves a weird white residue on plastic surfaces. To remove it, you will need WD-40 or a similar petroleum product, but good luck..
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 12:03:53 PM EDT
Three people in a 7x10 room, and one of them claims to have seen and heard nothing of what passed between the other two???

The room whas where "they cleaned their guns" -- so what was he doing spraying gun scrubber on a loaded gun elsewhere????

Walking around, gun in hand ...

This just isn't believeable. If anyone else told this story to the cops they would be laughed at.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 12:04:51 PM EDT

Originally Posted By FanoftheBlackRifle:
So....was this is an AD or a ND

(only because someone was going to start that argument eventually by calling it the "wrong" term)



Neither, it was fucking stupid is what it was.......
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 12:32:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/24/2005 12:33:15 PM EDT by Moof]

The Sollman shooting is not the first time a weapon has unintentionally discharged in the city police station. Chief Mazzeo said last week that there have been several instances in past years where officers' guns fired inside the headquarters, though he would not detail those events nor reveal what action if any was taken against the officers involved, saying they were personnel matters.


I'm confused...are we supposed to find this comforting, knowing it apparently happens on a regular basis, or is the Chief implying that guns just "go off" on their own sometimes, even in the hands of "well-trained professionals"?
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 12:37:55 PM EDT

Originally Posted By PhilipPeake:
Three people in a 7x10 room, and one of them claims to have seen and heard nothing of what passed between the other two???

The room whas where "they cleaned their guns" -- so what was he doing spraying gun scrubber on a loaded gun elsewhere????

Walking around, gun in hand ...

This just isn't believeable. If anyone else told this story to the cops they would be laughed at.



A

MEN
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 1:10:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By PhilipPeake:
Three people in a 7x10 room, and one of them claims to have seen and heard nothing of what passed between the other two???

The room whas where "they cleaned their guns" -- so what was he doing spraying gun scrubber on a loaded gun elsewhere????

Walking around, gun in hand ...

This just isn't believeable. If anyone else told this story to the cops they would be laughed at.



+1. This person was SWAT also; should be a little better trained than the average officer with his weapon. Everything about the story stinks. Most likely murder, but the PD is not going to let on to that until investigation is complete.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 1:22:35 PM EDT

Originally Posted By PhilipPeake:
Three people in a 7x10 room, and one of them claims to have seen and heard nothing of what passed between the other two???

The room whas where "they cleaned their guns" -- so what was he doing spraying gun scrubber on a loaded gun elsewhere????

Walking around, gun in hand ...

This just isn't believeable. If anyone else told this story to the cops they would be laughed at.



+10

Story smells like

Either that or this story has mind-boggling levels of ignorance of firearm safety and stupidity.

Link Posted: 5/24/2005 1:24:47 PM EDT
UNFUCKING BELIEVABLE!

Sgatr15
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 2:00:01 PM EDT
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 2:10:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By NorCal_LEO:
I had never heard of the Hk USP service revolver before.





Neither have we! Fuckin' newsies.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 2:17:14 PM EDT

Originally Posted By desertmoon:

Originally Posted By NorCal_LEO:
I had never heard of the Hk USP service revolver before.





Neither have we! Fuckin' newsies.



Must be one of the new fully automatic assault revolvers we hear about on the news occasionally.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 2:20:51 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ryann:

Originally Posted By Hipster:
Does everyone think that this was an unintentional discharge




Call me a cynic, but I wonder the same thing.


So he's a crack trick shot who can drop a gun, then catch it half way to the floor, pulling the trigger with his pinky, and hitting exactly where he wants?

Link Posted: 5/24/2005 2:25:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By sum-rifle:
It is possible he used Gun Scrubber on his loaded handgun. What is more likely is that he cleaned it and then loaded it. He then noticed this "residue" and for some reason did not think to just wipe it off with a clean rag. He sounds like a moron and he killed his friend.

Or he was having an affair with the guys wife and wanted him out of the way...............................................




If I had to guess, that would be my guess too.

I know a guy who works for an area department who dropped his beretta while holstering it at home before his shift. He instinctivly tried to catch it and it discharged hitting him in the thigh. Caused a hell of alot of damage, but nothing permanent. He got damn lucky,.
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