Cooper Law Firm
Quality, Affordable Legal Guidance
Se habla Español

Questionable circumstances surround accidental shooting of woman

Wrongful death lawsuits may seem like cut-and-dry cases, but as we outlined a few weeks ago, there are many factors that need to be determined before a fatal incident is deemed "wrongful." Though the supposed perpetrator in a freak accident that left a woman dead has been cleared by local police, the victim's family is not so convinced.

The story is being called the "fatal hug" and while it is bizarre, mysterious and controversial, it is ultimately a tragic tale.

An officer for the Detroit Police Department was off-duty last weekend and decided to attend a party. He had his police-issued firearm with him, which is legal in Detroit (but they must be properly holstered, as this one supposedly was on the back of his waist).

A 24-year-old woman must have been the officer's friend or significant other, because she went over to give him a hug. She touched the firearm, which uses a special internalized safety lock for the trigger. Apparently she accidentally fired the gun by accident -- with the bullet hitting her in the chest, leading to her death.

Detroit's Police Chief cleared the officer of wrongdoing, saying there was no indication that he even touched the gun. But how does a holstered gun attached to the back of a man's waist (and assumedly pointing down) accidentally go off and hit someone in the chest? That's the very question being asked by a former firearms professional for the state of Michigan.

"I'm having a great deal of difficulty understanding how a weapon that's pointed at the ground can be turned literally 110 degrees minimum to be in an upward position to strike someone," he said.

While nothing can replace the family's loss, they at least deserve a plausible explanation for how this tragedy happened. If, after a proper investigation is completed, it is determined that someone was negligent in this fatal incident, then the family could pursue a wrongful death claim.

Source: Slate, "Woman Shot by Off-Duty Officer's Gun During Hug," Elizabeth Hewitt, July 10, 2012

1 Comment

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Contact Cooper Law Firm Today A Diverse Professional Legal Team, Always Accessible to You. Call 866-405-0124.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Email Us For A Response
  • Maryland Association for Justice
  • Bar Association of Montgomery County, MD
  • PGCBA | Prince George's County Bar Association | Over a century of service
  • MSBA | Maryland State Bar Association, Inc.

office location

Cooper Law Firm
8720 Georgia Avenue, Suite 701
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Toll Free: 866-405-0124
Phone: 301-587-9170
Fax: 301-589-1585
Silver Spring Law Office Map