A police constable is now in hospital nursing a facial wound after he was reportedly shot, accidentally, by one of his colleagues during an operation to apprehend wanted men in Portland yesterday.
The incident has triggered a probe by the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM).
The constable was shot on the left side of his face during the early morning operation at Olivier Housing Scheme in Buff Bay. He was rushed to Annotto Bay Hospital and was later transferred to Kingston Public Hospital.
At press time yesterday the police’s Corporate Communication Unit (CCU) reported that he was in serious but stable condition.
The CCU reported that the cop was taken to hospital about 6:00 am, but that the circumstances surrounding the shooting remained unclear at the time, and that the Inspectorate of the Constabulary was also investigating the matter.
Deputy Commissioner of INDECOM Hamish Campbell, when contacted yesterday, described the incident as unfortunate.
“Police officers were engaged in an operation searching for wanted men and during the search of the premises, from their account, there was a discharge of a firearm by one officer, and that injured, accidentally, the officer who is now shot. He is severely injured but he is still alive and that matter was reported to INDECOM. It is the subject of an investigation to see the circumstance of that shooting which, on the face of it, looks like a misfortune, a very unfortunate accident,” Campbell said.
Asked if there was a report of an exchange of gunfire between the police and wanted men when the incident occurred Campbell said: “That is not the information that we have at this moment, but it is obviously subject to an enquiry. We don’t know if it’s an accident or a misunderstanding, or if the officer who discharged his weapon believed it was one of the people they were looking for and fired in those circumstances, so we don’t know yet. But no other officer was shot at or injured during this incident.”
Campbell also said he received no report of wanted men being held, nor was any or illegal firearm seized.
“It is still very early, but at the end of the day no one wishes for any police officer to be shot and injured, and there are lessons to be learnt as always,” he said. “This is not exactly part of the plan for a police officer to be shot by his colleague accidentally, and part of INDECOM’s oversight role is to examine fully circumstances of the incident.”