Sheriffs Deputy: Sailor I shot in her backyard ‘startled me’

By Arturo Garcia
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 15:31 EDT
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A retired U.S. Navy veteran and her family are asking their local sheriffs department to own up to their role in a shooting of the servicewoman in her backyard.

According to KSWB-TV, San Diego County Sheriffs Deputy Luke Berhalter shot 36-year-old former Air and Sea rescue team member Jennifer Orey in her home Sunday at point-blank range while searching for a suspect.

Orey’s brother, Jim Morgan, said Tuesday Orey asked Berhalter why he did it.

“The cop said, ‘Well, I’m sorry, you startled me,’” Morgan said.

KGTV-TV reported that the Sheriffs Department subsequently issued a statement making her injuries sound relatively mild.

“The female was shot in the arm,” the report said. “She is in good condition and expected to be released from the hospital today.”

On Tuesday, Morgan went into detail on how hurt she actually was.

“The bullet went through her left breast, through the bottom, going right through her nipple, into her bicep, and then out her pinky,” Morgan said. The family also revealed photos showing Orey’s various wounds. She is currently in stable condition and expected to recover.

“I feel they’re just trying to cover up her mistakes,” Morgan said. “They know the truth.”

Sheriffs Lt. Larry Nesbit said the shooting occurred after Orey came home while deputies were into her backyard investigating a “suspicious male” in the area.

“At some point, while in the backyard of the residence, there was contact between the deputies, who had their weapons drawn, and a female resident of the home,” Nesbit said.

U-T San Diego reported that Berhalter joined the department 21 months ago, after serving as a deputy with the Sacramento County Sheriffs Department for seven years. Authorities said Berhalter had been placed on administrative leave.

Watch KSWB’s report from Tuesday below.

Arturo Garcia
Arturo Garcia
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
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