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February 09, 2008
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N.Y. officer cleaning gun wounds toddler

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — A police officer who wounded a toddler when he accidentally fired a shot through the floor of his Brooklyn apartment was cleaning his gun in dim lighting because his electricity had been turned off, according to his brother.

Officer Patrick Venetek, who had less than two years experience on the force, was stripped of his gun and placed on modified duty while the department investigates the Feb. 7 incident, authorities said.

His brother told reporters Friday that the officer had set his gun down on a table, and then accidentally knocked it to the floor when he returned to the room.

The gun discharged, firing a bullet that passed into the apartment below and hit 1{-year-old Jonathan Porcellini in the arm.

The lights were off because the pair, who are roommates, couldn't pay their bills, the brother said. The Police Department said Venetek makes about $34,000 per year. In New York, many families pay that much annually in rent.

The injured child was treated at a hospital and released. The wound was not life-threatening, but his family is still angry.

"Just a few more inches and I could have lost my son," said his father, Justin Porcellini. "This is a city employee, a cop. They are supposed to be safe. I want people to know that what happened was wrong."



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