Accidental gun discharge injures sheriff's deputy
BY LOUISE RED CORN World Correspondent
Tuesday, May 08, 2012
5/08/12 at 7:58 AM
BARNSDALL - An accidental discharge from a Barns-dall police officer's AR-15 assault rifle sent a bullet into the leg of an Osage County deputy sheriff and wounded another Barnsdall officer on Monday evening.
Osage County Chief Deputy Sheriff Charlie Cartwright said Barnsdall's Assistant Police Chief Danny Couffer had placed his assault rifle in the back seat of Deputy Carl Thomas' patrol car along with apparent marijuana and paraphernalia seized during the execution of a search warrant at a house on Fourth Street a half block north of Oklahoma 11 when the incident occurred around 5:45 p.m. Monday.
It is unclear how the gun discharged, and it will be examined by experts, Cartwright said.
Couffer's gun let off two rounds in the area that is a mix of private homes, a restaurant and a nursing home where people were outside.
One of the bullets hit Thomas in the right leg about four inches below his knee, Cartwright said.
Another Barnsdall officer, Daniel Brown, suffered a flesh wound in the neck, but it is unclear whether that came from the second bullet, shrapnel or concrete blown from the street, Cartwright said.
Thomas, who is from Barnsdall, was being evaluated at St. John Medical Center in Tulsa, undergoing an MRI to determine the extent of his injuries, authorities said. Brown was taken to Jane Phillips Hospital in Bartlesville. Cartwright said Brown was also complaining of pain in one leg that doctors were evaluating.
Cartwright said Couffer has been placed on administrative leave from the Barnsdall Police Department pending a review of the case by the Osage County district attorney.
Couffer has worked for the Barnsdall Police Department since September 2009 and has previously held other jobs in law enforcement in Osage and Creek counties.