A veteran police officer accidentally shot a student during a demonstration on good policing. Tim DisPennett has worked with the Vermillon County Sheriff’s Office in Clinton, Indiana for 19 years. However, he was off-duty when teaching a law enforcement class at South Vermillon County High School and ended up firing his weapon, per WTHI.
The shooting happened on Thursday, November 17. Just after 9:30 a.m., DisPennett was reportedly instructing students on how a good police officer would behave in a “bad guy” situation. It’s unlikely that he meant that the officer would shoot the suspect, but that’s exactly what happened.
DisPennett meant to grab his training weapon. Unfortunately, he grabbed the real and loaded gun instead and fired it at the student and shot them. Thankfully, the student wasn’t seriously hurt. Paramedics responded to the scene quickly and the student was rushed to Terre Haute hospital with injuries that were said to be non-life-threatening.
The school’s principal wrote to parents to let them know what happened. “This morning at South Vermillion High School, there was an isolated incident in one of our vocational classrooms. The incident was an accidental discharge of a firearm by a law enforcement officer during a drill … Only SVHS is currently on lockdown, due to the abundance of emergency personnel in the building,” the principal wrote. Superintendent Dave Chapman added: “The instructor immediately began first aid. It needs to be clear that this was an accidental shooting and that at no time were the students and staff at the high school in any danger or threat.” According to The Daily Mail, Chapman added that there was a “positive ending” to the incident since the student will be okay.
Indiana State Police will be conducting an investigation. Sgt. Matt Ames said: “We will be talking to every student that was inside of the classroom. We will also be speaking with the deputy that was instructing the class, and we have crime scene investigators that will be going through the classroom taking all the evidence.” It’s unclear whether Tim DesPennett will face disciplinary action of any kind.