Who declared this “police firearms instructor negligent discharge Thursday?”
It wasn’t me because I doubt I’ve got the lungs for it.
Nonetheless, we reported on the Savannah State University incident this morning where a cop in training sent a bullet through the window of an occupied classroom into the wall, and now we’ve discovered via the Columbus Dispatch that the veteran police firearms instructor that shot a student in a classroom last week had pulled a similar stunt 36 years ago:
“Oh no, he’s done it again!” she said she thought to herself. Schmelzer, 50, was Cathy Hessler, a 14-year-old Pickerington girl, when she was accidentally shot in 1977 by Dunlap during a Halloween hayride.
At the time, Dunlap was a Pickerington police department auxiliary lieutenant. According to a Dispatch account back then, Dunlap said he had fired his .38-caliber handgun into the air to create, in his words, a “scary effect” while taking his daughter and her friends for a “haunted hayride” on his rural property in Fairfield County.
Dunlap said he thought the gun was loaded with blanks. But a bullet ricocheted and hit Cathy Hessler in her right leg. The bullet was removed at Mount Carmel East hospital.
In both incidents, Dunlap’s revolver was not supposed to have live ammunition in it, was discharged in the direction of other people, and they were struck with (thankfully) non-life-threatening injuries.
So here’s the question: do you cut Dunlap some slack? He’s been a police and private shooting instructor for decades, and has apparently trained thousands, if not tens of thousands of people to shoot safely.
Should his second negligent discharge—neither of which resulted in charges (well, so far)—end his career?