Officer accidentally discharged firearm in Janesville middle school in September

JANESVILLE (WKOW) — The Janesville Police Department is calling an accidental discharge at a middle school in September a “unique and isolated” incident after completing an investigation.

In a Nixle, Lt. Mark Ratzlaff said the incident happened Edison Middle School on Sept. 19.

He said the officer’s backpack strap was “unintentionally” hooked on the grip of the firearm right before the discharge. Ratzlaff said this put the access tail of the strap close to the holster and firearm.

The officer said they pulled on the shoulder strap to remove the strap from the firearm grip.

This is when the firearm was discharged.

Ratzlaff said “the only reasonable, although not provable” cause for the weapon firing was the backpack strap tail getting into the holster and pulling the trigger.

The firearm was sent back to Smith and Wesson for inspection, and it was returned to the police department on Nov. 10, with a letter indicating it wasn’t defective. The firearm passed all their function and firing checks also.

Ratzlaff said this was “an unintentional, unique and isolated incident.”