NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A state police corporal involved in a firearms training accident that killed a trooper was arrested Tuesday on reckless-endangerment charges.
Cpl. Richard Schroeter was conducting a training session Sept. 30 and pulled the trigger on his firearm while discussing the weapon's mechanism, prosecutors said. The gun discharged, killing 26-year-old Trooper David Kedra.
Prosecutors said they asked a grand jury to consider charges of homicide, involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangering. The panel found sufficient evidence that Schroeter, although a highly qualified firearms instructor, recklessly endangered those present, they said.
"Schroeter breached routine, yet critical, safety protocol by failing to visually and physically check to ensure his weapon was unloaded, failing to obtain confirmation from another that his firearm was not loaded, and failing to point his weapon away from the direction of everyone present (including Trooper Kedra)," Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said in a statement explaining the five reckless-endangerment counts.
Schroeter's attorney, Timothy Woodward, said his 43-year-old client was "wracked with remorse" but declined to comment on the charges.
"This is an absolute tragedy," he said. "Right now, our thoughts and prayers are with the Kedra family for their loss."
Woodward said his client had been a dedicated public servant during 20 years with the state police and 14 years as a volunteer firefighter.
Kedra, who joined state police in 2012 and was assigned to the Skippack barracks, was shot in the chest. More than 1,000 family members, friends and law enforcement officers from around the area lined the streets for his Oct. 6 funeral procession.