03/30/2007

La. officer accidentally shoots self

Shooting may have been a result of a manufacturer's defect in the handgun

Editor's Note --
Sgt. Raymond Lasseigne's accidental gunshot wound appears to exactly that --- an accident brought about by a "perfect storm" of circumstances (a probable manufacturer defect and some slippery footing). Nevertheless, safe gun handling is a subject worth revisiting ad nauseum. So here it is:

Gun Safety, Operation & Storage

  • Safe gun handling is YOUR personal responsibility at all times. Firearms are dangerous and can cause serious injury and death if they are misused or used inappropriately. Safety must be the prime consideration of anyone who owns or handles firearms.
  • You are responsible for the firearm at all times. In owning a firearm, you must undertake full-time responsibility for your firearm''s safety and security. You must protect yourself and all others against injury or death from misuse of the firearm.
  • Safe storage is your responsibility. In particular, you must secure firearms safely from children and unauthorized users. A lock has been provided for your use with this firearm. A lock is not a substitute for safe and secure storage as defined in the Safe Storage and Transportation section of this manual.
  • Accidents are often the result of violating the rules of safe gun handling and common sense.
  • For your safety and the safety of others, never rely on mechanical features alone. Only your safe gun-handling habits will ensure the safe use of your firearm. This is your responsibility.
  • Never keep ammunition in the same location as the handgun. Store in a separate and secure place.
  • READ and UNDERSTAND these instructions before using your firearm.
  • Read more on Handgun safety rules and procedures


By Allen Powell II
Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
Related Story: Why Are We Killing Ourselves: A Look at Accidental Shootings of Police Officers by Police Officers

GRETNA, La. - A Gretna police officer accidentally shot himself in the chest Thursday afternoon, and remains in intensive care at West Jefferson Medical Center after losing a massive amount of blood.

Sgt. Raymond Lasseigne, a 15-year veteran, was in stable condition late Thursday afternoon after wounding himself with his personal weapon at the Gretna Police Department headquarters shortly after noon, Police Chief Arthur Lawson Jr. said.

Lasseigne shot himself in his office at the police station after he tripped and fell while removing a Sig .40-caliber handgun from his desk, Lawson said. Lasseigne, the commander of Gretna's community policing division, had the bullet enter his chest, exit through his side and sever a major artery in his arm, Lawson said.

He was treated and rushed to the hospital by emergency medical technicians who were at the Police Department, which Lawson said probably saved his life. The Gretna police complex also houses the city's emergency medical staff.

"Had this incident happened anywhere other than at the police complex ... I think that the circumstances would have been much more grim than they are," the chief said.

The shooting may have been a result of a manufacturer's defect in the handgun, because the weapon's safety was on at the time of the accident, Lawson said. The handgun was Lasseigne's personal weapon, which he carried in addition to his standard service weapon, Lawson said.

The department was overwhelmed by the response from other law enforcement agencies and volunteer fire departments to the call for blood for Lasseigne, Lawson said. The Police Department will have a mobile blood unit at the police complex at 200 Fifth St. throughout the day Sunday for anyone who wants to donate blood, Lawson said.

It is unclear whether there will be permanent damage to Lasseigne's arm because of the shooting, Lawson said.

Copyright 2007 The Times-Picayune Publishing Company

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