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  • Did you see this story?

    Story From Philadelphia Inquirer:
    Posted on Thu, Feb. 07, 2002
    Officer's gun goes off during show-and-tell

    By Barbara Boyer and Thomas J. Gibbons Jr.
    Inquirer Staff Writers

    Shortly after a Philadelphia policewoman passed around a loaded handgun among students during show-and-tell at a Germantown charter school, the weapon accidentally discharged yesterday afternoon, grazing a 10-year-old boy in the face.

    The student, fourth grader James Reeves, received five stitches at Temple University Children's Hospital and returned home last night in good condition, while police and school officials continued their investigation into the incident at Imani Education Circle Charter School in Germantown.

    The officer, Vanessa Carter-Moragne, 39, a five-year veteran assigned to the Ninth Police District in Center City, was removed from street duty and is now the subject of an Internal Affairs investigation, police said.

    Acting Commissioner Sylvester M. Johnson called the officer's actions "unheard of and inexcusable."

    "We're grateful that the injuries were not more serious. . . . It's fortunate that no one got killed today," Johnson said. "I cannot give you a logical explanation for Officer Vanessa Carter-Moragne's poor judgment."

    Philadelphia Police Capt. Edward Chiodetti said that about 3 p.m., the officer went to the school to pick up her son and was interacting with the students in the boy's classroom. Chiodetti said the children first wanted to see her badge, which she displayed, and then asked to see her weapon, a 9 mm Glock semiautomatic.

    Johnson said the officer removed the clip from the weapon and then passed the gun among the children.

    Carter-Moragne "allowed the children to handle it," Johnson said. "When she attempted to place the magazine back into the Glock, her gun accidentally discharged."

    Even if a clip, which contains the bullets, is removed, a round can remain in the chamber unless it is taken out separately.

    "You never know. You can pull the clip out and there's one in the chamber," Johnson said.

    A girl who was among the 23 children in the classroom at the time of the incident, 9-year-old Aatiqah Johnson, said: "Everybody was passing it around."

    The weapon eventually was returned to the officer.

    Aatiqah said there was a bang, and then she saw blood.
    "allowed the Children to handle it"???
    Thank God this idiot didn't accidently kill some kid!

    Hopefully this women won't be a cop much longer. It is stuff like this that gives all the Great men and women police officers a bad name in the eyes of the public.

  • #2
    And last week the kids in my 3rd grade Jr. Achievement class were going, "Aw-w-w-w" when I refused to show them my gun. These aren't toys, people.


    • #3
      This is another example of media cop bashing.
      Of course the cop was stupid, of course you shouldn't let kids play with guns, BUT, if the officer had really unloaded it it, nothing would have happened. They say the gun 'just accidentally fired'. Gimme a break.

      This part really gets me. "there was bang, then she saw blood." What they expect when you get shot, chicken soup?


      • #4
        I try not to rush to judgement on such things, but this sounds pretty cut and dry. I don't think she needs to be an officer much longer if this is true.

        Also, I'll bet money the little finger thingy was on the little trigger thingy (using her apparent mentality, if she is carrying a Glock and thinks it was unloaded simply by removing the magazine.)

        Note that the kids had enough sense not to touch the trigger, but the officer did NOT.
        People have more fun than anybody.


        • #5
          I read this story yesterday and couldn't help but think, Please tell me she's really not that stupid. Yet another embarrassing situation for the city of Philadelphia. I almost feel bad about it. It's hard sometimes though. I've lived here so long, I'm practially immune to it (the kid I feel bad for, the officer - well, she should have known better).


          • #6
            This really does boggle the mind, did she fall asleep when she was getting oriented on her brand new paper weight?

            Like somebody else said, she doesn't need to be in law enforcement, or any other job that actually requires her to think for a living!

            I am just glad none of the kids was killed or hurt more seriously than the poor kid who got grazed.


            • #7
              Very simple solution to this little dilemma which concerns Vanessa, Fire the Ignorant Idiot!!!!. What a moron to be passing a firearm around in class. Desk duty is tooooo good for someone like her. Regardless of her removing the magazine, I bet she still had a round in the chamber, while it was being passed around.

              Unfortunately, I have heard similar stories, and we had a couple of clowns in our department do something similar. One Officer decided to let students 'handle' his service weapon, but not after removing the magazine, and ejecting the round that was in it. He received a verbal reprimand for that one, after several parents complained.

              I know that little Johnnie and Susie might be curious as to what we have on our belts, but these tools aren't toys.

              rant over.

              [ 02-07-2002: Message edited by: Mr.Orange ]
              "are you going to bark all day little doggie or are you going to bite"


              • #8
                Originally posted by MikeTx:
                This is another example of media cop bashing.
                I strongly disagree that the media was out to get this particular officer. The fact that this occurred in a school, combined with the age of the victim, would have caused this to make the news anyway. The fact that it was caused by a cop's outright stupidity just makes it a lot worse.


                • #9
                  We all agree stupid.....I also say criminal!! This *** should be charged.
                  "Speed is fine, but accuracy is final"--Bill Jordan


                  • #10
                    This officer broke possibly every rule of responsible firearm ownership.

                    - Always check the chamber after removing clip.
                    - Always pass it with the slide open.
                    - Never point the firearm at someone!
                    - Never put your finger on the trigger outside of using it at the range, dry firing a safe weapon, or in defense of human life.

                    This officer should be fired immediately.

                    This is quite possibly THE MOST irresponsible thing I have ever heard of!Passing a loaded gun, ready to fire amongst children and then pulling the trigger YOURSELF when it is aimed at a young boy? Are you kidding me?! Sounds like the kids were more safe than she was. None of them pulled the trigger thank God!


                    • #11
                      This does sound pretty cut and dried. She should be charged, given a trial board and dismissed.

                      Several questions I would want asked at the trial board are:

                      Who were her firearms instructors?

                      What were her classroom scores? (not range scores)

                      How did she do on the psych test?

                      What are her evaluations like particularly as far as safety?

                      I could probably come up with more but those just scream to be asked.

                      [ 02-07-2002: Message edited by: Metro174 ]
                      In God we trust, all others are run MILES and NCIC.


                      • #12
                        Impressive! By the way, there is NO such thing as an "accidental" discharge, especially with a Glock. You can drop it, kick it, throw it, sit on it, whatever...but the only way it is going to fire is if you pull that little "trigger thingy."

                        But how could it have fired, I took the magazine out? Another MENSA candidate.


                        • #13
                          Does "accidentally discharged" mean someone accidentally fired the gun, or does it mean the gun went off by itself?

                          I've always wondered.

                          I suppose guns don't just "go off" by themselves....


                          • #14
                            Yes, this is embarassing!

                            Although it isn't mentioned outright, there was a round in the chamber while the children passed around the weapon.

                            "You never know. You can pull the clip out and there's one in the chamber," Johnson said.

                            The injured child was struck by a bullet fragment. The weapon discharged into a floor and the projectile fragmented. {At least the weapon was pointed down while reloading.)

                            The officer was not re-assigned to desk duty. She already had desk duty.

                            Many officers would be fired immediately for this. That it did not occur in this case is revealing.

                            There have been many discussions in this forum lamenting the sorry state of contemporary hiring practices. This incident should serve as a cautionary tale.

                            Within hours of the occurrence, a written order was issued to all personnel. The carrying of weapons into any public school facility is prohibited while off-duty. (A classic example of management by media) The school in question was a private school, BTW. (Rule: Effective PR solutions need not fit the problem) Someday, perhaps, unloaded weapons will be issued at roll call and a single bullet will be carried, per regulations, in a shirt pocket.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by shadows:
                              Does "accidentally discharged" mean someone accidentally fired the gun, or does it mean the gun went off by itself?

                              I've always wondered.

                              I suppose guns don't just "go off" by themselves....

                              Although it has happend in years past, firearms manufactured in the last 20 years or so, can not be discharged unless the trigger is pulled. Unless there is something drastically wrong with the weapon.

                              "Accidentally discharged" usually means that someone was negligent and had their finger on the trigger when it shouldn't have been.
                              Optimistic pessimist: Hope for the best, but expect the worst.


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