10/08/2003

Ala. Officer Killed While Cleaning Gun (Safety Alert)

Officer Down: William Robinson III - [Decatur, Alabama]

PoliceOne.com Critical Alert

A decorated Decatur, Ala. police officer was killed Oct. 2 when his gun accidentally fired while he was cleaning it, police said.

Police responded to William Robinson III's home at 11:30 a.m. and found him dead on his garage floor from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his chest.

Robinson, 43, served for 22 years and recently received two Chief's Commendation medals for meritorious service, including one for rescuing a woman kidnapped in Huntsville as her abductors drove into Decatur.

Police have ruled out foul play, saying it was an accident.

Robinson is survived by his wife Janet, sons Matthew, 13, Andrew, 10, and brother Bobby Joe.

"Robbie was a great officer, father, husband and an asset to the community," Spokesman Lt. John Bradford said. "He will be greatly missed."

This report underscores the need for constant vigilance regarding gun safety. There is no way we can know exactly what happened in this incident, but it illustrates that accidents can happen even to the most experienced officer. Regardless of how many years you've had a gun and how many thousands of times you've cleaned it, never be complacent in any aspect of unloading the weapon and verifying that the chamber is empty.

For additonal cleaning and gun safety information, please visit this page: http://www.kleen-bore.com/safetytips.html

For more details on general gun safety, please read this PoliceOne report: http://www.policeone.com/safetytips

-- From The Associated Press, PoliceOne

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