Paramedic Accidentally Shot During Training ExerciseAP , Associated Press
Apr. 20, 1995 6:30 AM ET
MIDLAND, TEXAS MIDLAND, Texas (AP) _ A paramedic portraying a villain in a police department SWAT team exercise was accidentally shot by an officer who thought his gun was unloaded.
The 35-year-old man, whose name was not released, was in critical condition this morning after surgery at Midland Memorial Hospital. He had been shot once in the chest Wednesday night.
``He's holding his own,'' said police Sgt. David Garcia. ``He's doing well but, then again, when you talk about a .40-caliber round, it is pretty potent.''
In the exercise, the man was one of two armed robbers on the second floor of a building with SWAT team members arriving on an elevator.
``This was supposed to be a mock deal where the guys dry fire, sort of a `bang-bang, I gotcha' type deal with unloaded weapons,'' Garcia said.
``The officer, armed with a .40-caliber handgun that he thought was dry firing and shot once,'' Garcia said. ``It had a live round and it hit the paramedic in the upper right chest area.''
The paramedic was only five feet away when he was hit.
Garcia said the paramedic, who has worked for the fire department for about five years, often trains with the SWAT team.
``He sort of like the medic in the unit. ... He had volunteered to be one of bad guys. I'm sure he'd been training with them all day,'' Garcia said.
The officer, a four-year veteran of the department, was to be interviewed today by investigators. His identity wasn't released.
``The officer involved in the shooting obviously was very traumatized, very shook up,'' Garcia said. ``They're not going to talk to him until he gets his wits about him again.''
This is the first time anyone has been shot during a department SWAT-team exercise, Garcia said. He emphasized that SWAT members are ``considered the cream of the crop of the department.''
``They're highly conditioned, they're highly trained _ but they're human,'' Garcia said.