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Posted: 6/7/2001 8:45:05 PM EDT
http://www.dallasnews.com/metro/stories/388454_copdead_08met.html The Dallas Morning News: Metro Arlington police officer killed in training exercise 06/08/2001 By Jason Trahan and Drake Witham / The Dallas Morning News ARLINGTON – A 26-year-old police officer died Thursday after another officer accidentally shot him in the head during a training exercise at a junior high school. Cpl. Joseph Cushman, the department's 1998 Rookie of the Year, was shot about 6:24 p.m. at Ousley Junior High School in southeast Arlington during a demonstration in which SWAT team members were being shown how to react to a gunman in a public place. Arlington police, who were investigating the shooting late Thursday, did not release the name of the officer who fired the shot. But officials said the department's officers were devastated by the death of Cpl. Cushman, who had been promoted Wednesday. Many were talking to grief counselors late Thursday. "The Arlington Police Department. is deeply saddened by the loss of Joey Cushman," Police Chief Theron Bowman said. "He was an excellent officer who worked tirelessly with the citizens of the community. We are saddened for his family, those who worked with him and for all the officers in the department." The officer was among the first to participate in the training, which started May 28 and was designed to teach tactical team members how to handle incidents like Columbine, said police spokeswoman Danetta Chube'. "This is the worst type of tragedy that can happen. A lot of hearts are broke. There's a lot of emotion involved," department spokesman Sgt. James Hawthorne said. "We have counselors coming out here. And there are peer support officers in place." Officer Cushman, a 4 and 1/2-year veteran of the Police Department, was a well-liked and highly respected Christian man who graduated valedictorian of his police academy class, Sgt. Hawthorne said. He had just earned his corporal stripes Wednesday. Most recently, Officer Cushman worked with East Arlington citizen patrol groups. "He was the type of person as a father you'd be proud to say that was your son," Sgt. Hawthorne said. "He'll leave a void that'll be hard to fill. It probably won't be filled." The officer told The Arlington Morning News in 1999 that he never thought about any other career. His father, Jim Cushman, served with the Fort Worth Police Department for 29 years. "I grew up hearing about my dad's job and how exciting it was for him to be able to help people as a patrol officer," he said. "Now I just can't believe they pay me to come do this."
Link Posted: 6/7/2001 8:45:46 PM EDT
Officer Cushman had been with the department since spring 1997. He said in 1999 that he looked forward to a long career with the Arlington Police Department. Police were investigating whether the shot involved a live round or resulted from simulated ammunition or rubber bullets, which are commonly used during training exercises, said Sgt. James Hawthorne. He said it's not protocol to use live rounds in training exercises and that police are investigating what kind of bullet was used. If it was a live round, police will investigate why it was being used in a simulation, he said. Some residents said they were concerned and surprised to learn that police were training at the school, which is in a residential neighborhood where many children play. "With all these kids over there, you wouldn't think they would have a training exercise with live ammunition," said Vonceal Williams. Brad Cunningham, a UTA student, said he saw paramedics bring the officer out of the building, still pumping his chest. His mother, Linda, said she was concerned about the training involving guns. "For something so careful, why didn't they take extra precautions?" she said. City Council member Wayne Ogle said he was on his way home after ministering at a funeral in Winsboro, Texas, when he received a call from City Manager Chuck Keifer about the incident. "Whenever one of the city's officers is killed it's a tragedy," said Mr. Ogle, whose district includes the campus. Deputy Chief Jerry Kendricks, who oversees the SWAT team, was on scene comforting Officer Melissa Denton as she was marking the scene with tape. "He was an outstanding officer," the deputy chief said. "He did a lot of volunteer work in the community. He was the best and brightest in the department." Staff writers Kim Horner and Tiara M. Ellis contributed to this report. Online at: http://www.dallasnews.com/metro/stories/388454_copdead_08met.html © 2001 DallasNews.com
Link Posted: 6/7/2001 8:48:56 PM EDT
I really hate to hear it. I'm a firefighter, and it really sucks when a brother falls in the line of duty like that. It is actually becoming very common in training exercises to lose someone for a small mistake like pulling the wrong cord or in that case the trigger. I'm sorry to hear it. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family. Sincerely, Mikie
Link Posted: 6/7/2001 8:51:30 PM EDT
Wow, double check that weapon again. I hate to say it but someone didn't follow the golden rules of gun safety. That's a shame, best to the family.
Link Posted: 6/7/2001 9:08:59 PM EDT
Both are incredible incidents, you never know when it's your time. R I P. BLUE RIBBON
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 6:24:26 AM EDT
I am not in law-endorcement, but when they have these kind of exercises, don't they just have one person that is a non-participant with responsibilty to be sure that ALL of the guns are have non-live ammo?
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 6:56:55 AM EDT
Was this guy the simulated bad guy or a friendly? If he wasn't the bad guy, there are deeper problems. It goes from a training accident to deep incompetence.
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 7:11:49 AM EDT
Very tragic. Sounds like that incident in Apple Grove where a D.A.R.E. guy killed a kid by accident.
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 8:35:23 AM EDT
With ASP Redguns & Simunitions only guns this type of thing should never happen. We dont use any guns that are even capable of using live ammo in training. Of course it took a training death for us to learn that lesson too. Now its ASP Redguns for takeaway/Retention training and simunitions for Force on Force training.
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 10:00:57 AM EDT
Originally Posted By SingleStacker: Very tragic. Sounds like that incident in Apple Grove where a D.A.R.E. guy killed a kid by accident.
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Funny that you mentioned that ! I immediately thought of that when I heard about this Arlington situation. That was a real tragedy... If I recall, the student actually died. I forget the name of the DARE cop, I think it was Vandwiezl or something similar. Shot a little black kid when showing him his duty weapon. The media turned it into a big "racial incident" even though the witnesses said that the cop and the student had a friendly relationship. It really puts the fear into 'ya. I've never had an AD or ND but safety was drilled into my brain by my dad.
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 8:04:33 PM EDT
Heard on the radio today that the fatal shot may have come from a handgun. Its possible that the officer involved may not have checked his duty weapon and in the heat of the moment used it. If I can find a follow up article I will post it. The PD is catching some flack about using the school without notifying the locals. With the shooting by the female officer of an unarmed homeowner in McKinney and now this its not been a good week for Dallas area LEO's.
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