WASHINGTON – An officer in the Metropolitan Police Department's first district “dry-fired” an unloaded weapon at the head of another officer during a roll-call meeting on Saturday afternoon, possibly under orders from a sergeant as part of a training exercise, four MPD sources tell WUSA9.
Those sources say a Sergeant later told officers in the room that they had secretly ordered the officer to unload his weapon and then pretend to fire on his colleague as part of a “training exercise” on situational awareness. The officer then pulled the trigger of the unloaded weapon while pointing it at the head of an officer until it audibly clicked, the sources say.
Both the officer who allegedly fired the weapon and the sergeant who allegedly ordered him are assigned to regular duties, pending an internal affairs investigation, MPD spokesman Sean Hickman tells WUSA9.
“I can tell you there are about seven different versions of the incident that are out there,” MPD Chief Cathy Lanier told reporters on Monday. “I’m not sure which or how many of those that you’ve heard, but I prefer to wait until I see some facts and some direct statements of what happened before I make a judgment.”
Several MPD personnel who have heard of the incident, which has been widely discussed in police circles online and elsewhere since the weekend, say they are furious that such a training exercise might have been ordered.
Another officer could easily have drawn their weapon and killed the officer who dry-fired at their colleague. Some sources say at least one officer did pull his weapon on the officer during the confusing moments surrounding the incident.
"You shouldn’t be doing that kind of training. This is police academy 101. You do not pull your weapon out of your holster and display it, especially in a roomful of cops," said Michael Tabman, a former Fairfax County police officer and FBI special agent.
Tabman ticked off multiple ways the scenario could have turned deadly, such as a round accidentally left chambered in the officer’s weapon, or another officer in the room opening fire to preemptively protect a colleague with a gun pointed at him.
"You just don’t put people in that fear and sort of invite tragedy, and that’s what this was—it was inviting tragedy. Thank goodness nothing happened," Tabman said.