Indiana Auxiliary Officer Killed During Training
HAMMOND, Ind. --
A Gary auxiliary police officer died Saturday after a fellow volunteer officer's gun accidentally discharged a bullet into the man's chest.
Unit 5's Renee Ferguson reported that it is the second time in two months that one Gary police officer is responsible for the death of another.
Kevin Weaver, 49, died at Saint Margaret Mercy Hospital in Dyer from a single gunshot wound. He and two other reserve officers were training at Deb's Gun Range, 6819 Kennedy Ave. in Hammond, Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller said.
Images: Gary Officer Shot Video: Accidental Shooting
About 3 p.m., Gary police said reserve officer Gerald Horton, 52, was attempting to clear his weapon when Weaver bumped into Horton, causing Horton's gun to discharge a .45-caliber round.
"As he was turning, Officer Weaver bumped into him, and the weapon went off as the other officer fell back," said Gary Police Cmdr. Samuel Roberts. "Officer Weaver died as a result of his injurires."
One other reserve officer, Von Brown, was at the range when the shooting took place, Roberts said. Both Horton and Brown were uninjured.
"He was a good officer, a veteran, and a good man," Terry Smith, head of Gary's auxiliary police program, said of Weaver. "He was always there when you needed him, volunteering for the city of Gary. It's a shame what happened."
Smith said Weaver, a Gary native and Merrillville resident, leaves behind a wife and three children.
"Right now, we're embracing the family and making sure they're comfortable," Smith said.
Roberts said Weaver, a reservist since 1990, was a longtime custodian for the Gary School Corp. and owned a cleaning company. "He was a hard-working man," Roberts said.
Horton, a Gary resident, has been a reservist since 1985. Roberts said Hammond police would continue to investigate the incident.
Ferguson said that the Weaver and Horton were friends.
"Their family and our family know each other, so hopefully we can all come together and get through this," said Lawrence Horton, the officer's brother.
Both men were dedicated to serving the community, Ferguson said, "dedicated enough to put their lives on the line for no pay."
Gary Mayor Rudy Clay, a staunch supporter of the auxiliary police program, returned from Washington, D.C., on Saturday afternoon and learned of the shooting after deplaning at Midway Airport.
"This is just a real tragedy here," Clay said. "He was a good man and did some good deeds for a lot of people. His good deeds will live forever."
The auxiliary program has had its share of critics in recent months. Clay is attempting to pass an ordinance that would name any number of volunteer police and take authority away from the police commission to appoint and discipline volunteers.
The mayor insists that the auxilary program is necessary to keep cost down in Gary, Ferguson said.
Meanwhile, a resolution supporting the police commission's efforts regarding the auxiliary program is before the City Council.