Yikes: San Francisco Sheriff’s Deputy Negligently Discharges Firearm, Almost Hits Fellow Officer

Posted: Apr 16, 2016 7:40 PM

Safety first–it’s the old axiom repeated for any task that could result in bodily injury. It’s especially noted when it comes to handling firearms, something a San Francisco Sherriff’s Deputy forgot to adhere to when his off-duty firearms accidentally discharged inside the Halls of Justice this week. It narrowly missed a fellow member on the force (via NBC Bay Area):

A San Francisco sheriff’s deputy accidentally discharged a non-duty weapon, a "baby Glock," inside the Hall of Justice on Wednesday morning, apparently while trying to demonstrate the proper use of the weapon to a colleague.

The round narrowly missed the fellow deputy, but no one was injured.

San Francisco Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Eileen Hirst said the discharge occurred before court started and was under investigation. She was not able to provide details, pending the outcome of the probe.

“An accidental discharge of a firearm is a very serious matter,” she said. “We are all very grateful that no one was injured.”

Sources say that Rhonda Gaines, a 20-plus year veteran, brought the gun to work and that Sotero Santos accidentally fired it. Hirst would not confirm either identities but said that the person who fired the weapon is receiving a one-on-one refresher on firearm training, as is the deputy who brought the weapon to the courthouse.


Sources told NBC Bay Area that Gaines brought the handgun, a 22-caliber “baby” Glock, to work and was apparently not familiar with how it operated. She handed it to Santos and asked him about its use, sources said. The second deputy pointed the weapon at the first deputy and – apparently unaware the weapon was loaded – pulled the trigger. The round missed her, piercing an equipment storage cabinet, before lodging in the office wall.

Well, for starters, if you see the cabinet, there’s no way that’s a .22 caliber round. Judging by the size of the hole, it was a 9mm, even a .40 caliber, round that punctured the storage cabinet. Second, as the National Rifle Association, and other organizations that are involved with firearms, would tell you–you always treat a gun as if it’s loaded until you have made sure that the magazine has been ejected and that there is no round chambered by pulling back the slide. Check, then double check. Even when you know it’s clear, like when you’re in any gun store, always be sure to follow this protocol until it becomes a creature of habit. You don’t know it’s safe until you have made sure the weapons system isn’t loaded. Apparently, some members of the SF Sheriff’s Department are a bit rusty in that area. Luckily, no one was hurt, but these stories serve as reminders that knowing and following basic gun safety is key. Even when you do know it inside and out, it’s never a bad idea to retake basic pistol courses to brush up every now and then.

Exit Question: Are .22 caliber handguns allowed to be used by off-duty police officers? I know for some agencies there are various requirements for off-duty carry.

Also, never do this: