Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Police officer suspended after own weapon stolen

Taken with truck; used in accidental shooting

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BRANDON -- A rural police officer whose personal revolver was stolen last month has been suspended, justice officials confirm.

The RM of Whitehead police board advised the province it had suspended Chief Const. Doug Gormley, the only member of its police service.

The move was made under the Police Services Act to ensure adequate and effective policing, a Manitoba Justice spokesman said in a news release Friday.

The release didn't specify why Gormley had been suspended or whether that suspension was with or without pay.

The RM continues to refuse comment and Gormley couldn't be reached Friday.

Gormley previously told the Brandon Sun he had a .22-calibre revolver locked up in a case that was inside a police truck when that vehicle was stolen overnight between Jan. 11 and 12.

The revolver, Gormley said, was his personal gun and not an official police firearm, albeit one he said he used for occasional police-related duties that called for lesser amounts of firepower, such as putting down injured animals that had been hit on the highways.

The stolen truck was found abandoned, but the gun was only recovered about a week ago after it was used in a bizarre accidental shooting that sent a woman to hospital with a bullet lodged in her buttocks. The gun had apparently discharged accidentally and fired through a wall before hitting the woman.

Police have laid charges in the accidental shooting.

Justin Marshall Lockyer, 29, was charged with assault, careless use of a firearm, possession of a weapon obtained by crime, possession of a restricted firearm with ammunition and two counts of unauthorized possession of a firearm.

He's also charged with breach of undertaking by failing to abstain from alcohol, intoxicants or drugs. He has not been charged in the theft of the police truck.

The Whitehead police service has been suspended until further notice and the RCMP have stepped in to police the municipality in the meantime.

They were already handling criminal matters and enforcing federal laws in that area; this will add bylaw and traffic infractions to their load.

The Brandon Police Service said the investigation isn't complete but no charges have been laid in connection with the storage of the gun.

Manitoba Justice will review the circumstances and advise whether charges should be laid, Brandonàpolice Sgt. Mike Pelechaty said.

Gormley said although the gun was in a locked case, it didn't have a trigger lock on it and ammunition for the gun was kept in a jar, which was also in the police truck when it was stolen.

 

-- Brandon Sun

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 8, 2014 A5

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