11 Officers Suspended After 2 Cops Accidentally Shot At Holiday Party
Brandywine, MD – The Internal Affairs division of the Prince George’s County Police Department is investigating a shooting at a police holiday party on Saturday night that left two officers wounded.
Eleven members of the Prince George’s County PD were suspended while the department investigated what led to a gun going off at a home during a Christmas party attended by numerous members of the police force, WJLA reported.
Police said that at some point during the festivities, a privately-owned gun went off.
One bullet struck two officers – first it hit one officer’s hand and then the bullet ricocheted and struck another officer in the leg, according to WJLA.
Officers responded to a 911-call from the house off Martin Road in a rural section of southern Prince George's County to find two of their own colleagues wounded.
Both wounded officers were transported by helicopter to local hospitals and treated, and then were released on Sunday morning, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Multiple sources told WRC-TV that the party was a celebration for members of the PGPD SWAT Team.
Prince George’s County Police Spokeswoman Jennifer Donelan confirmed for The Washington Post that the group of suspended officers did include members of the department’s emergency services team, but said there were also patrol officers and investigators in attendance at the party.
There were no members of the police department’s command staff present at the party, WUSA reported.
The Internal Affairs Special Investigation Response Team is investigating what may have caused the weapon to fire unintentionally, according to WTOP.
“We want to get to the bottom of why that gun went off and so anybody who was in the house at the time of that happening, they’ve been suspended and now they’re being investigated by our internal affairs,” Donelan told The Washington Post.
She did not offer any details about what led up to the shooting, citing the ongoing investigation; however, she said it did not appear that anything “sinister” had taken place and that the incident appeared to be an accident.
The handgun belonged to one of the officers who was shot, and was not a department-issued weapon, according to WUSA.
Donelon said police were investigating to determine whether alcohol had played a role in the incident.
“It was a holiday party,” the spokeswoman said. “I’m not going to be naive and assume that there wasn’t but… whether or not alcohol was involved is definitely part of that investigation.”
She refused to say whether the home where the shooting occurred was owned by a police officer or a civilian, according to The Washington Post.
“We’re handling this investigation as quickly as possible so if there are people who need to get back on the street, we’ll get them back on the street,” Donelan said. “Safety in Prince George’s County has not been compromised.”