An Albany firefighter who accidentally shot himself while on the job in early February will retire in early June, Fire Chief Warren Abriel tells the Times Union.
The first responder, who has not been identified, was neither put on disciplinary leave or docked pay following the incident, Abriel said.
City firefighters, who are full-time employees, are not allowed to carry a gun while on duty, and the chief declined to say if any other disciplinary action — including an oral and/or written reprimand or a loss of vacation days — was handed out after the accidental shooting and department internal investigation.
The chief did give a sanitized version of the shooting.
“I think it was all accidental, and he just didn’t realize it was in the bag,” Abriel tells the Times Union. The chief also said he’s continuing to remind firefighters in regard to carry regulations for on-duty responders.
According to the Times Union, the decision to retire was made by the firefighter … and was not suggested or decided by officials.
The firefighter, who is a 27-year-veteran of the fire department, was put on light duty in headquarters for “a couple weeks” while he recovered and has since returned to his regular duties at the Arbor Hill firehouse, Abriel tells the Times Union.
Police decided the shooting was accidental and said Feb. 21 the firefighter will not face any charges related to the shooting.
“Our investigation determined that it was an accidental discharge and no crime had been committed,” Albany police spokesman Officer Steve Smith tells the Times Union.
According to the Times Union, the night of the shooting officers responded to the Arbor Hill firehouse following a report of shots fired at about 12:20 p.m. Feb. 10, Smith said. When asked, he declined to identify who called the police.
According to the police report, the firefighter was inside his assigned quarters when he found a loaded semi-automatic handgun in his overnight bag. He decided to unload the gun and lock it in his car for the duration of his shift.
However, as the firefighter tried to empty the gun, his left hand covered the muzzle. When he accidentally pulled the trigger, a bullet went entered his left palm then exited his wrist, according to police records.
The Times Union reports fellow city firefighters took the firefighter to Albany Medical Center Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, the incident report states.
A detective recovered the gun at the scene for “safe keeping,” Smith said. The firefighter legally owns the handgun with a valid pistol permit, Smith said.
The accidental discharge drew a heavy police and fire presence, including department brass, to the North Manning Boulevard firehouse, but according to the Times Union, neither agency spoke publicly about the incident until reporters asked what had happened.
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