Kennesaw police trainee dies after accidental shooting
By DON PLUMMER
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 09/13/05
A trainee at a Cobb County police academy was killed Tuesday when the instructor's gun accidentally went off during the first day of firearms training, authorities said.
The woman, a new recruit with the Kennesaw police department, was among 30 rookie officers in the seventh week of a 10-week program at the North Central Georgia Law Enforcement Academy in Austell.
The trainees were in a classroom in the basement of the academy, located in a converted textile mill, when the gun discharged about 4 p.m., said Carol Morgan, the academy director.
County Sheriff Neil Warren, whose office administers the program for Cobb, declined to discuss details of the shooting.
The officer, whose name was withheld until family members were notified, was taken to a local hospital where she died a short time later.
She was the first Kennesaw police officer killed in the line of duty, said department spokesman Scott Luther.
Kennesaw police Chief Tim Callahan called the death "a tragic accident," and added: "For the next few days, we want to honor the life of this young officer who would have been a great officer one day."
The class instructor is an "experienced veteran" of the county sheriff's office who has been teaching at the academy for 10 years, Sheriff Warren said.
Shaken up by the shooting, the instructor was also taken to a hospital but later released, Warren said.
The instructor, who was also not named, has been placed on administrative leave until an internal investigation by the sheriff's office, the county police department and Austell police.
"Anytime you deal in law enforcement, it's dangerous," Warren said. "Whether it's learning to drive, do defensive driving, or any other kind of training, it's very, very dangerous."
The Austell academy, which serves 10 counties in the northeast Georgia area, offers courses to would-be officers in issues such as identity theft, hostage negotiations and hate crimes. Since it held its first training class in 1978, the academy has graduated more than 6,000 students.
— Staff writer Saeed Ahmed contributed to this report.
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