Officer Charged After His Weapon Fires, Strikes Bystander

I’ve said many times that police have a very hard job. As a result, I’m probably a bit more willing to cut them some slack in a lot of cases than I probably should. They’re human, after all, and they’re doing a difficult job. Plus, unlike most of us, when they make a mistake, it’s in a fishbowl where an entire community will look at it.

However, that doesn’t mean I think they should get a pass when they cross the line, either.

Now, a police officer is in hot water after his firearm discharged.

Sgt. Michael Sturek faces a trio of charges, including second-degree recklessly endangering safety, possession of a firearm while intoxicated, and endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon, stemming from the incident, which happened on August 26 outside Sturek’s home.

According to the criminal complaint, the shooting followed a night of drinking at a local bar by Sturek and the victim, during which the former told investigators he had about a dozen beers. A detective who was investigating the case reported being able to smell the alcohol on Sturek and could tell he had been drinking by the way he talked.

Later, at Sturek’s home, the off-duty sergeant was showing the victim his gun collection and selected a pistol that his guest had shown an interest in. When they went outside, Sturek claims he went to clear the weapon and it fired. He told the detective they were both surprised it went off.

Sturek told the detective he did not have his “booger picker on the bang switch,” the criminal complaint quoted him saying.

Investigators figure that Sturek hit the magazine release, but the mag didn’t drop free. Then he racked the slide, intending to clear the weapon, only it didn’t.

But I don’t care what he said, his booger picker was probably on the bang switch. Even racking the slide doesn’t tend to cause a half-way decent firearm to just go off. Then again, being fairly drunk, he probably had it there and simply didn’t remember it.

Honestly, a cop should know better than to do virtually any of this crap.

Unfortunately, the people most likely to have a negligent discharge are those who are around firearms literally all the time. Police officers and firearm instructors, of which Sturek claims to have been both.

Now he’s facing criminal charges, as he should. After all, his negligence resulted in another person being injured, and that’s where people need to be stepped on. I mean, folks screw up and I get that. Anyone can screw up and have a negligent discharge if they’re not careful. However, when someone gets hurt because of that negligence, that’s crossing a big line.

For what it’s worth, the injured were described as non-life threatening, which is a good thing. That doesn’t excuse what happened, though.

“Oh, but what if it happened precisely as Sturek said?”

I. Don’t. Care.

Look, if it did, I hate it for him, but his gun is a piece of crap. Not only that, but he should have been paying attention to where his muzzle was pointing. He didn’t and someone else got shot because of it.

Now, he’s looking at charges because of it. Sorry, but I’m not feeling much sympathy right now.

Jun 18, 2021 11:30 AM ET