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Shooting Probe

The Wood County Law Enforcement Practice Range is open to area police agencies for practice purposes. Sheriff Ken Merritt says Lieutenant Jeff Hamric had finished shooting there and was loading his weapon in his holster when it discharged, shooting Hamric in his leg calf.

"He will be out for a little while," Merritt said. "We want him to take care of himself. He's a firearms instructor, and I'm sure that, in a few days, he will start remembering things more clearly."

Merritt, among others, remembers another deputy was hurt when his gun accidentally discharged last summer. The sheriff admits it's a mystery why these two incidents have happened.

"We can't find anything at all, except maybe being a little impatient to advance or get something done," he says. "But whatever we can find, we'll make every attempt to correct it."

The sheriff also used the word 'complacency' to describe the possible reasons for the shootings. Both deputies involved in the incidents are veteran lawmen.

Sheriff Merritt says deputies undergo firearms tests every two to three years, but the department will determine whether more frequent testing is necessary.


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