A Northwest State Community College male law enforcement student was accidentally shot during firearms certification training about 8:17 pm, Tuesday, April 5.
Michael Bodenbender, Henry County Sheriff, said NSCC students for the college law enforcement academy were shooting to qualify to carry a firearm at the Napoleon police firing range when the accident happened.
Bodenbender said the students were taking a break when one of the students, another male, asked to oil his handgun, a 9mm semiautomatic.
Exact details of the mishap are still under investigation, but Bodenbender said there was a problem with the gun “slide,” a large portion of the gun that travels backward, then forward each time the gun is fired.
As the gun was being handled, it inadvertently fired.
The other student was struck in the back.
Napoleon Rescue responded to the range and transported the victim to the Henry County Hospital.
From there, the student was transferred to a helicopter ambulance and flown to a Toledo-area hospital.
As of Friday, April 8, the student that was shot was still in an intensive care unit, but Bodenbender said his condition was improving.
Bodenbender said the HCSD investigation is not complete. Deputies are waiting to talk to the victim.
Because the investigation is not complete, Bodenbender is not releasing the names of those involved.
Once the report is complete, Bodenbender said it will be forwarded to the Henry County Prosecuting Attorney to determine if charges will be filed.
However, he said at this point, all indications point to the incident being an accidental shooting.
Mari Yoder, vice president for institutional advancement at NSCC, said due to the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Acts, and due to the ongoing investigation, “the college has no public comment we can make at this time.”
At least one source told the Buckeye that an email had been sent on Wednesday, April 6, to college staff members, telling them to “hush it up.”
Yoder forwarded a copy of her email to the Buckeye.
Part of that email said, “With respect for the students, instructors, and families, the college asks that employees refrain from public comment.
“The accident was reported on WNDH (a Napoleon radio station) this morning.
“You are welcome to share the information in this statement with your students.
“Any further questions should be directed to my office.
“We ask that no one make any comments to the media or through social media.”
Yoder said in an email to the Buckeye her email to the staff “was not meant to ‘keep the incident quiet.’
“The intent was to ensure that accurate information was being shared and to be respectful to the students and staff that were impacted by the accident.”
Bodenbender said the youth who was handling the gun when it fired feels awful about the incident.
“He’s really torn up.
“The (victim of the shooting) was his friend,” he said.–David Pugh