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View Full Version : SFPD Officer Accidentally Kills Self In San Mateo


Steyr_223
08-13-2007, 10:55 AM
RIP.

http://cbs5.com/topstories/local_story_225113722.html

GlockComa
08-13-2007, 10:58 AM
RIP for the loss of life.

It could have been prevented.
If he had only followed the basic safety rules.

Especially always check to see if a round is chambered & Keep your finger off the trigger.

Piper
08-13-2007, 11:00 AM
Out of respect for the officer as a person, I'll leave it alone.

Phantom_Piney
08-13-2007, 11:07 AM
For the life of me, I can't ever figure out how police officers who should know better are not conscious of the most basic rules of firearms. RIP officer.

rod
08-13-2007, 11:22 AM
RIP officer. I'll keep the rest of my comments to myself out of respect for his family. Besides, I'd be preaching to the choir.

thedrickel
08-13-2007, 12:04 PM
It was a party: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/08/13/BAGKARHNPS6.DTL&tsp=1

(08-13) 10:27 PDT SAN MATEO -- An off-duty San Francisco rookie police officer died after he accidentally shot himself during a party at his San Mateo apartment over the weekend, authorities said today.
James Gustafson, 23, of San Mateo died early Saturday. The circumstances surrounding the shooting are under investigation, San Mateo County coroner Robert Foucrault said.
"I believe he was at a party and sometime during the party the weapon was produced and discharged," Foucrault said.
San Mateo police responded to a report of gunshot in the 100 block of El Camino Real at 1:40 a.m. and found Gustafson wounded in his apartment.
"The victim was at home with friends when the tragic accident occurred," police Capt. Kevin Raffaelli said in a statement. "The victim was in possession of his firearm when he accidentally discharged it, striking himself."
It was unclear whether the gun was Gustafson's service weapon, Foucrault said.
"It was a tragic death, to say the least," he said.

bwiese
08-13-2007, 12:11 PM
Wow, three blocks up the road from where I used to live.

Reading between the lines, I bet a fair amount of alcohol was involved.

ryang
08-13-2007, 12:11 PM
"Accidental discharge" could mean so many different things. The story is way too light on details.
1. Was he alone in a room? (Possible suicide.)
2. Was he trying to show off to friends? (A la that actor who fired a blank into his head.)
3. Was it an instant death or bleedout? (Pointing at head or unknowingly swept an artery.)

Without knowing how it happened you can't point to a root cause and say "don't do that."

bwiese
08-13-2007, 12:37 PM
Ryang,

We also really don't know that it wasn't another cop and it wasn't self-inflicted at all.

KenpoProfessor
08-13-2007, 12:59 PM
Ryang,

We also really don't know that it wasn't another cop and it wasn't self-inflicted at all.


Funny, I was thinking the same thing, how bizarre :eek:. This story reeks of ambiguity, so much I can smell it from here. There's something else amiss here that no one wants to put in print.

Have a great gun carryin' Kenpo day

Clyde

CavTrooper
08-13-2007, 1:34 PM
Theres no such thing as an "accidental-discharge". Thats the worst phrase ever coined.
I feel for the officers family, may they find peace.

-hanko
08-13-2007, 2:10 PM
Theres no such thing as an "accidental-discharge". Thats the worst phrase ever coined.
I feel for the officers family, may they find peace.
Replace "accidental" with "negligent". Too much not known know to form any assumptions, yet alone conclusions.

My prayers go to his family and friends .:(:(
-hanko

doctor_vals
08-13-2007, 2:40 PM
Reading between the lines, I bet a fair amount of alcohol was involved.

And he was a"rookie police officer".
It is sorrow when young people died. :(

sigguy552
08-13-2007, 3:31 PM
RIP...officers are human and don't really receive that much firearms training. Ask anyone who has been through the academy. The firearms portion is not that long nor it is that heavily emphasized.

swhatb
08-13-2007, 11:14 PM
Officer, RIP. I'll keep the rest of my comments to myself out of respect to him and his family. I'm sure if he was looking down and saw his mistake, he would go :eek: The academy doesn't teach much these days. RIP.

socalguns
08-14-2007, 1:12 AM
:reddevil:'m not one to read between the lines well,
and with the utmost of respect (bless his heart),
but thank darwin this genius (bless his heart)
the public didn't have to suffer long (bless his heart)
god only knows how many kids fishing w/grandpa he would've killed,
bless his heart

What :reddevil: guess happened is he removed the magazine, handed gun to a buddy, who proceeded to "play", then coverup...(bless his heart)

eta34
08-14-2007, 5:01 AM
:reddevil:'m not one to read between the lines well,
and with the utmost of respect (bless his heart),
but thank darwin this genius (bless his heart)
the public didn't have to suffer long (bless his heart)
god only knows how many kids fishing w/grandpa he would've killed,
bless his heart

What :reddevil: guess happened is he removed the magazine, handed gun to a buddy, who proceeded to "play", then coverup...(bless his heart)

I think the general consensus around here is that someone did something wrong with this firearm...leave it at that.

bwiese
08-14-2007, 9:54 AM
Occasionally Mr. Darwin offers spontaneous IQ tests. Some people fail.

6172crew
08-14-2007, 10:04 AM
RIP officer. I'll keep the rest of my comments to myself out of respect for his family. Besides, I'd be preaching to the choir.

+1.

KenpoProfessor
08-14-2007, 10:14 AM
Occasionally Mr. Darwin offers spontaneous IQ tests. Some people fail.


Dude, that's a killer sig line, pun intended!!:D

Have a great gun carryin' Kenpo day

Clyde

bwiese
08-14-2007, 10:34 AM
Occasionally Mr. Darwin offers spontaneous IQ tests. Some people fail.

Dude, that's a killer sig line, pun intended!!:D

Have a great gun carryin' Kenpo day

Clyde

Haha. But actually, it's just a variation of John Wayne's ""Life is tough, but it's tougher if you're stupid." (Sands of Iwo Jima)

Dont Tread on Me
08-14-2007, 7:44 PM
Theres no such thing as an "accidental-discharge".

I disagree. If the gun goes bang without something touching the trigger I would consider it accidental.

I hope this officer RIP.

CavTrooper
08-15-2007, 4:03 AM
I disagree. If the gun goes bang without something touching the trigger I would consider it accidental.

I hope this officer RIP.

So it IS the evil guns that kill people?

No Sir, there is no such thing as accidental discharge, Im sorry but every time that weapon goes off it is your fault/responsibility, accept it.
Guns dont go off at random, and if for some crazy reason yours does, it should be repaired or destroyed, not to would be negligent.

metalhead357
08-15-2007, 5:12 AM
No Sir, there is no such thing as accidental discharge, .

A-freakin-men. Aint NO such thing as an accident as most conjure to mind. Accidents dont just happen....there was negligence somewhere.....and I'll leave that as that.

I pray his Kin & kith well. RIP officer.


((And Bill....I do love that darwin line))

Dont Tread on Me
08-15-2007, 5:49 AM
No Sir, there is no such thing as accidental discharge, Im sorry but every time that weapon goes off it is your fault/responsibility, accept it.

Here is a hypothetical. I function test my Glock each time I clean it. I have it serviced every 5K rounds as Glock recommends. I inspect my ammo for high primers etc. I put a mag in it and rack the slide with my finger indexed on the frame and get a slam fire. Fortunately, into the kevlar backstop I use at home for admin handling. Improbable, but possible. Please explain my negligence in this case. What did I fail to do that meant this was not an act of God but rather an act based on my actions? You could push the definition back to the designer or factory and say they were negligent, but I'm talking relative to the shooter.

Negligence \Neg"li*gence\, n. [F. n['e]gligence, L. negligentia.]

The quality or state of being negligent; lack of due diligence or care; omission of duty; habitual neglect; heedlessness.

2. An act or instance of negligence or carelessness.

remarking his beauties, . . . I must also point out his negligences and defects. --Blair.

3. (Law) The omission of the care usual under the circumstances, being convertible with the Roman culpa. A specialist is bound to higher skill and diligence in his specialty than one who is not a specialist, and liability for negligence varies accordingly.


ac·ci·dent [ak-si-duhnt] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun
1. an undesirable or unfortunate happening that occurs unintentionally and usually results in harm, injury, damage, or loss; casualty; mishap: automobile accidents.
2. Law. such a happening resulting in injury that is in no way the fault of the injured person for which compensation or indemnity is legally sought.
3. any event that happens unexpectedly, without a deliberate plan or cause.
4. chance; fortune; luck: I was there by accident.
5. a fortuitous circumstance, quality, or characteristic: an accident of birth.
6. Philosophy. any entity or event contingent upon the existence of something else.
7. Geology. a surface irregularity, usually on a small scale, the reason for which is not apparent.

metalhead357
08-15-2007, 6:08 AM
Ca_Brit

You hit the nail on the head with the hammer with the defintion(s). The

Negligence \Neg"li*gence\, n. [F. n['e]gligence, L. negligentia.]

The quality or state of being negligent;............ heedlessness.

2. An act or instance of negligence or carelessness.

ac·ci·dent [ak-si-duhnt] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun
1. an undesirable or unfortunate happening that occurs unintentionally and usually results in harm, injury, damage, or loss; casualty; mishap: automobile accidents.


Accidents DONT just happen...it ALWAYS comes down to either human error or mechanical failure; be it cars, planes, or guns. SURE there is UN-intentional-ness there but the end/net result is it is either mechanical failure which is no accident (everything has a service life or someone ws negligent in its creation, inspections, etc) or it comes down to human error..............

GI_JOE
08-15-2007, 6:32 AM
RIP. I wonder if he was a member of CG

Dont Tread on Me
08-15-2007, 8:13 AM
I'm putting this down as a very stupid ND if this article is correct. Getting killed while trying to rack up CDI points is pretty stupid. Maybe cops need chamber indicators and magazine disconnects after all...

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/08/15/BA9ERIE64.DTL


Rookie cop who killed himself removed clip, left bullet in chamber
Jaxon Van Derbeken,John Coté, Chronicle Staff Writers
Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The San Francisco rookie police officer who accidentally shot himself to death fired his weapon while displaying for a female friend how officers are taught to avoid having their guns used against them, law enforcement authorities said Tuesday.
The incident happened at 1:40 a.m. Saturday during a gathering of as many as 15 people at the San Mateo apartment of the 23-year-old officer, James Gustafson Jr.
According to those familiar with the incident, Gustafson was showing his Police Department-issued semiautomatic pistol after removing the clip that stores the rounds. He explained that there are ways an officer can disable a weapon in close proximity to keep it from being fired.
It apparently was part of a demonstration of the department's "weapons retention" procedures. However, there was still a bullet in the chamber.
Gustafson pointed the weapon at his neck and pulled the trigger, shooting himself, according to authorities.
San Francisco Police Department policy is never to point a gun at a target that an officer does not intend to shoot, authorities said.
San Mateo police Capt. Kevin Raffaelli, whose agency is leading the investigation of the incident, declined to comment Tuesday other than to say that police do not believe other officers were present at the time of the shooting.
Some of those at the party apparently were drinking, authorities said. Toxicology results from Gustafson's autopsy will not be available for several weeks.
Gustafson graduated from the San Francisco Police Academy in January and had just finished a six-month stint in the Mission District under a field training officer. He had recently been assigned to the department's Central Station.

donger
08-15-2007, 8:24 AM
Not following basic firearms safety rules:

1. Don't point the weapon at anything you do not intend to destroy.

2. Visually check the chamber for a live cartridge.

3. Don't mix alcohol and firearms.

five.five-six
08-15-2007, 8:38 AM
Not following basic firearms safety rules:

1. Don't point the weapon at anything you do not intend to destroy.

2. Visually check the chamber for a live cartridge.

3. Don't mix alcohol and firearms.

i am thinking #3... normaly i do not read between the lines but in this article there is just too much room between them,

the article did say that the man was injured when police arived

I have to say that while at a gunstore or the range, if I am swept, it is about a 9:1 ratio that the sweeper turns out to be an LEO

Trader Jack
08-15-2007, 8:47 AM
This guy was a jerk trying to impress some chick. Only an idiot would put a gun against his neck and pull the trigger. You do not need a great deal of training to understand that.
I wonder where your "bleeding hearts" would be if this same thing happened to a young black kid under the same circumstances. I doubt that there would be many "RIP" or "My heart goes out to his family" No sir. It would be more like "What a jerk" "No great loss" "What an idiot" and that is exactly what this person was.

chickenfried
08-15-2007, 9:34 AM
My thoughts exactly. Hmmm agreeing with trader jack what is this world coming to...:p


I wonder where your "bleeding hearts" would be if this same thing happened to a young black kid under the same circumstances. I doubt that there would be many "RIP" or "My heart goes out to his family" No sir. It would be more like "What a jerk" "No great loss" "What an idiot" and that is exactly what this person was.

ryang
08-15-2007, 12:01 PM
This is the second case I've heard where fatalities occurred while teaching gun safety. Therefore the correct line of reasoning is that attempting to teach gun safety is dangerous and should be outlawed--provided of course, that you were using the same type of logic gun control advocates use. :)

CavTrooper
08-15-2007, 2:21 PM
Here is a hypothetical. I function test my Glock each time I clean it. I have it serviced every 5K rounds as Glock recommends. I inspect my ammo for high primers etc. I put a mag in it and rack the slide with my finger indexed on the frame and get a slam fire. Fortunately, into the kevlar backstop I use at home for admin handling. Improbable, but possible. Please explain my negligence in this case. What did I fail to do that meant this was not an act of God but rather an act based on my actions? You could push the definition back to the designer or factory and say they were negligent, but I'm talking relative to the shooter.

Negligence \Neg"li*gence\, n. [F. n['e]gligence, L. negligentia.]

The quality or state of being negligent; lack of due diligence or care; omission of duty; habitual neglect; heedlessness.

2. An act or instance of negligence or carelessness.

remarking his beauties, . . . I must also point out his negligences and defects. --Blair.

3. (Law) The omission of the care usual under the circumstances, being convertible with the Roman culpa. A specialist is bound to higher skill and diligence in his specialty than one who is not a specialist, and liability for negligence varies accordingly.


ac·ci·dent [ak-si-duhnt] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun
1. an undesirable or unfortunate happening that occurs unintentionally and usually results in harm, injury, damage, or loss; casualty; mishap: automobile accidents.
2. Law. such a happening resulting in injury that is in no way the fault of the injured person for which compensation or indemnity is legally sought.
3. any event that happens unexpectedly, without a deliberate plan or cause.
4. chance; fortune; luck: I was there by accident.
5. a fortuitous circumstance, quality, or characteristic: an accident of birth.
6. Philosophy. any entity or event contingent upon the existence of something else.
7. Geology. a surface irregularity, usually on a small scale, the reason for which is not apparent.


After cleaning and function testing your weapon and having an ND into your backstop, you immediatly disassemble your weapon to find the cause of the slam fire. You find that:

A) The weapon was improperly assembled (somehow)

B) Parts in the firearm were worn or broken

C) The ammo was of poor quality

D) .....other.......

So wheres the accident? In this type of situation, the negligence was in the care or maintnence of the weapon or the lack of quality ammunition. Either way, the end result is the same, NEGLIGENT DISCHARGE of a firearm.

Let switch it up a bit and say that your slamfire occured, not into the backstop, but through the wall or window of your home striking and killing a small child playing outside.

What is your defense?

What do you think you will be charged with?

Firearms ownership is not just a right, its a responsibilty. If you are not prepared to accept the concequences of your actions then you need to reevaluate your position and capacity to keep and bear arms.

AJAX22
08-15-2007, 2:27 PM
Since the discharge would be into a backstop that you had installed specifically to occur in the event of a mechanical failure, it would be an accidental discharge, You did not intend for it to go off, but you were prepared in the event that it did to minimize the negative impact.

A negligent discharge would be the same situation, except that you had the gun pointed in an unsafe direction. Like at your neck.

Dont Tread on Me
08-15-2007, 2:32 PM
Cav - this has nothing to do with responsibility of firearms ownership etc. We are just trying to determine if it is possible for a firearm to discharge accidently rather than negligently from the perspective of the operator.

Going back to your argument against the slamfire. What if the cause was not incorrect assembly, a breakage visible on inspection, or ammo that was clearly bad? What if it was the result of damage to the gun that occurred during the manufacturing process that you would need an electron microsocope to see? Where would I be negligent?

You child case with all the caveats above would be the result of an accidental discharge but would be negligent gun handling. i.e. administrative handling against a poor backstop.

If the same child died from a slamfire rooted in a gun malfunction that occurred while reloading in a combat situation then there would be no negligence.

Guns are machines. Machines malfunction. When a machine malfunctions and I've done everything possible maintain that machine, I'm not negligent.

CavTrooper
08-15-2007, 2:56 PM
We will have to agree to disagree I suppose.
I belive that every time that weapon discharges it is by my doing and I am prepared to accept the responsibility of whatever may occur as a result.
In the situation of a manufacture defect, I would still consider it negligent. The negligence being somewhat the part of the manufacture in the lack of quality control measures to ensure an unsafe firearm does not hit the streets. While it is possible this may happen, I belive its most highly unlikey considering the litigous nature of the American public and the desire to avoid any action against any firearms builders. Regardless, any negetive impact as a result is still the operators responsibility and if the defect was so minute it took an electron microscope to discover, youd most likely never find out about it.

eta34
08-15-2007, 3:16 PM
Right, so somehow I am responsible for a manufacturing defect. Guess we should require that all gunowners attend armorers school and become experts on the inner workings of firearm.s

CavTrooper
08-15-2007, 3:33 PM
As a matter of fact, YES, I believe every gun owner should be expert on the inner working of thier own firearms. Easier to identify when the firearm is not functioning properly. Thats just me though.

Im sorry, I should have been more particular when I posted the last message.

Manufacture defect = bad manufacture, partly responsible.

Defect so small it takes electron microscope to discover = will probably never be discovered in the course of a normal investigation. (operators fault)

Gun goes bang, does something bad = my fault, legally, regardless of the circumstance.

bwiese
08-15-2007, 3:55 PM
Right, so somehow I am responsible for a manufacturing defect. Guess we should require that all gunowners attend armorers school and become experts on the inner workings of firearm.s

I have never seen or heard of a manufacturing defect that can bypass the four rules of safety.

eta34
08-15-2007, 6:00 PM
BWeise...I am not an armorer but I do practice the four rules of safety always. Certainly putting a gun to one's neck is not only stupid, but it violates the rules of safety.

I have heard of situations in which bad loads or bad rounds "blow up" guns, such as the glock kaboom situation that had been circulated before. If there are no obvious signs of damage to the round, how am I to expect something catastrophic to happen? Obviously, when I check my weapon I do so in a safe manner (proper backstop; i.e. not my head, etc.).

I am not turning this into a defense of this cop...he messed up and it cost him his life. Also, I didn't mean to imply that we shouldn't know how our weapons work. However, many gun owners wouldn't recognize damage to their weapons that could cause a N.D.

ccwguy
08-15-2007, 6:22 PM
I have never seen or heard of a manufacturing defect that can bypass the four rules of safety.


Exactly right Bill.

M. Sage
08-15-2007, 8:45 PM
Here is a hypothetical. I function test my Glock each time I clean it. I have it serviced every 5K rounds as Glock recommends. I inspect my ammo for high primers etc. I put a mag in it and rack the slide with my finger indexed on the frame and get a slam fire. Fortunately, into the kevlar backstop I use at home for admin handling. Improbable, but possible. Please explain my negligence in this case. What did I fail to do that meant this was not an act of God but rather an act based on my actions? You could push the definition back to the designer or factory and say they were negligent, but I'm talking relative to the shooter.

The discharge from a mechanical failure would be accidental, sure, but if you ignore the rules, any damage resulting would be negligent.

jdberger
08-16-2007, 12:27 AM
Methinks he was trying to show how the gun wouldn't fire if it was out of battery.

It's a shame he was using a revolver (just kidding - a little black humor).

Apparently, at the pawn shop I was working at when I was a pup, there was a kid who was there before me who tried to demonstrate that a 1911 wouldn't fire if out of battery. He must have relaxed the pressure 'cause he ended up with a half-inch stigmata in his left hand.

It was in front of a girl, also. Just goes to show that we don't have enough blood to operate both heads at once. :rolleyes: