A firearms instructor with the Hewitt Police Department is home recuperating after shooting himself while teaching his family how to properly clear a pistol, The Waco Tribune reports.
Sergeant Heath Vanek — an 11-year veteran with the force, the last five of which he’s served as its firearms instructor — will require at least two months to recover from the surgery to repair the self-inflicted wound on his left hand.
Hewitt Police Chief Jim Devlin said he spoke to Vanek, who said he “made a classic mistake” when trying to teach his children how to clear the chamber of his semi-automatic 9mm pistol.
Chief Devlin then added, “[w]e are humans too. We are not infallible. We make mistakes, and when we mess up, we mess up and do our best to correct it and get back to giving the public the best service we can.”
There will be an internal investigation into the shooting, but Chief Devlin noted that it occurred while Vanek was off the clock, and that the weapon involved was not his service pistol. Vanek could face actions ranging from counseling to termination, though Chief Devlin doesn’t anticipate the penalty to be that severe.
“I do see a potential for some re-teaching and some remediation,” he told The Waco Tribune. “It’s an unfortunate accident and it is just something we, as a department, will work through.”
[“Bullets and ammunition cartridge on hand with Semi-automatic 9mm gun on wooden background” on Shutterstock]