By Gary Scott Staff Writer
Copyright 2006 MediaNews Group, Inc. and Los Angeles Newspaper Group, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
PASADENA - The Pasadena Police Department issued a statement Monday that said sheriff's detectives erred when they reported an off-duty Pasadena police officer tried to commit suicide last month.
Karin White, a 10-year veteran of the department, sustained a single gunshot to the face June 25 while at her Compton home.
Detectives at the sheriff's Compton Station said the evidence showed she had probably fired the gun in a failed attempt to kill herself - an assertion reported in the local media, including this newspaper.
At that point, the case appeared to be closed. Then, on Friday, White recovered enough from her injuries to give her first interview to investigators.
What she told them, according to Pasadena police spokeswoman Janet Pope Givens, is that she had no intention of taking her own life. Instead, White, 42, said she was shot while trying to wrestle a gun away from her despondent 18-year-old son.
Law enforcement agencies generally avoid commenting on outside investigations, but Givens said her department decided to release a statement to help preserve White's "excellent reputation" in the community.
"This community deserves to know what happened," Givens said. "And if she decides to come back \, we don't want this to taint her reputation."
White has served in a number of capacities since being hired in 1996. She worked most recently in the community services division, which provides public outreach for the department.
Givens said that White's son has since admitted to the accidental shooting and voluntarily turned himself in to authorities.
Sheriff's officials declined to comment Monday, except to say the case is still being investigated.
Pasadena police declined to release the name of White's son, citing unspecified legal concerns.
Pasadena police Chief Bernard Melekian called the shooting a "family tragedy."
"There is no immunity for police officers when it comes to the same family problems and traumas which we are sometimes called upon to resolve," he said in a prepared statement. "We feel for the family and especially Officer Karin White."
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Calif. cop shot in face recovers, says she didn't attempt suicide; son shot her