Wednesday, October 2, 2013

North Dakota State University Police Officer Shoots Himself While Drunk - Resigns from Job - But is not Charged with a Crime

In Forum

A North Dakota State University police officer resigned Monday after accidentally shooting himself in the arm last month as he conducted a close-quarters shooting exercise in his apartment.

Patrick Thomas submitted his resignation Monday just as a meeting was getting underway between Thomas and campus officials, according to a statement released Tuesday by Ray Boyer, director of the university police and safety office.

According to Fargo police, the incident happened just before midnight on Sept. 13 in an apartment.

Fargo police Lt. Joel Vettel said the investigation into the shooting has been completed and no charges will be filed in what police have deemed an accidental shooting.

Police reports indicate Thomas told investigators he consumed two or three beers the night of the incident and at the time of the shooting was watching an instructional video on his computer having to do with close-quarters shooting with a handgun.

According to the report, Thomas told authorities he was doing an exercise that involved dry firing his gun while holding the muzzle against his forearm.

Having done that several times, Thomas told police he absent-mindedly inserted an ammunition clip into the gun, which he said went off the next time he attempted to dry fire it against his arm.

The police report said the bullet went through Thomas’s arm and the modem of his computer before becoming lodged in one of the walls of his apartment.

I love the old "two or three beers" line. Everyone knows what that means. 

The people who were sleeping in the apartment next door were pretty lucky.  I wonder how they feel about his not being charged and continuing to own guns. As soon as he gets another modem, he'll be able to do those midnight practicing sessions again.

You think he has a concealed carry permit? Sure he did, given his former work. And since he wasn't charged with a crime, he gets to keep being one of the guys who are more responsible and safer than regular folks.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.


  1. "You think he has a concealed carry permit? "

    Actually, I don't believe police officers typically have carry permits, as being a police officer authorizes them to carry in accordance with their departments' policies. Though I wouldn't be surprised if there were some states out there that require both.

    1. I was thinking that university cops are more like armed guards than regular police.

    2. Only at private schools. State Universities, being creatures of the state with state powers, typically have real police forces. They write tickets, make arrests, write up accident reports--all with the backing and power of the law. Usually, they're their own little force there in their own little jurisdiction within the larger city.

  2. Mikeb, why can't you stop this wild speculation? Making things up doesn't help your cause.

    1. Nothing wild about that speculation, Greg.

    2. It's speculation, wild or not. What I've read from police officers, they typically don't have the kind of licenses that the rest of us get. They don't need one.