A Nurse with a Gun

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Deputy Accidentally Shoots Wife

A Decatur County Sheriff’s deputy’s wife who was apparently shot by accident Friday night is currently being treated at Bainbridge Memorial Hospital, spokesmen at the Sheriff’s Office said. Vicki Bowyer, the wife of Capt. Gale Bowyer of the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office, was shot in the stomach by a bullet fired out of her husband’s personal handgun when it apparently malfunctioned while he was in the process of loading it, said Major Wendell Cofer of the Sheriff’s Office. As of Tuesday morning, she was listed in good condition in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, and is expected to make a full recovery, Sheriff Wiley Griffin said.

At about 6:45 p.m. Friday, the Bowyers were in the master bedroom of their Bainbridge home preparing to attend a party, Cofer said. Bowyer stated he was conducting a “press check” to ensure the small handgun he carried with him while off-duty was properly loaded, Cofer said. Bowyer stated to Bainbridge Public Safety Officer Ray Cox that while loading the handgun, it misfired. The handgun fired off seven bullets, one of which struck Mrs. Bowyer in the lower right abdomen, Cofer said.

The initial review of the bedroom and statements made by the Bowyers and their juvenile daughter, who was in the home at the time of the shooting, indicate that the deputy’s handgun malfunctioned, Cofer said. Georgia Bureau of Investigation was called to the scene and took possession of the firearm to investigate the cause of its malfunction, Griffin said Tuesday. “The matter is still under investigation but the preliminary report seems to be that a metal part broke off in the gun causing the weapon to go off automatically and basically empty the chamber,” Griffin said. “Out of seven bullets—most of them went in the floor, but one of them hit his [Bowyer’s] wife.”

The handgun, which is similar to a .380-caliber, was being carried by Bowyer while he was off-duty and was not issued by the Sheriff’s Office, Cofer said. However, Bowyer is authorized to carry a concealed personal weapon in Georgia as a law enforcement officer, the major said. Both Bainbridge Public Safety officers and Sheriff’s deputies responded to the shooting scene. Further investigation of the incident has been turned over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which is routinely done with incidents involving local law enforcement officers, Cofer said. The handgun has been turned over to a forensic armorer who will inspect it further. Capt. Bowyer, who leads the criminal investigation and crime scene investigation units at the Sheriff’s Office, is taking sick leave from work while his wife recovers, Cofer said. Bowyer has been employed by the Sheriff’s Office for 16 years and has worked in law enforcement for 21 years, Cofer said.
As of Tuesday morning, Mrs. Bowyer was listed in good condition in Bainbridge Memorial Hospital’s ICU, and is expected to make a full recovery. I hesitate to kick a man when he's down. Godspeed to Deputy Bowyer, and may his wife have a swift, uneventful recovery.

The Four Rules
1. All firearms are loaded
2. Never let the muzzle of a firearm point at anything you are not willing to destroy
3. Keep your finger off the trigger unless your sights are on the target
4. Be sure of your target and what is behind it

Hat tip to Blogonomicon



Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the gun really did malfunction as described, this might well have been an unavoidable accident, one with no negligence on the part of the shooter. If the sear failed, it might have fired without any pressure on the trigger at all.

A little .380 going full auto would be almost impossible to control, especially if it surprises you.

I'd sure like to know what pistol that was...

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm wondering if it was a Makarov. That's the closest thing to a .380 and holds anywhere from 6-8 rounds.
Certainly scary.

10:09 AM  
Blogger Paul Simer said...

Yeah, I'm thinking Mak too. It'd be heck to try and control it at full-auto, especially when your finger isn't near the trigger. Press checks are bad, mmkay?

I was going "Yeah, right. Sounds like someone got careless" until I realized that instead of "emptying the chamber" it was "emptying the magazine". First truly accidental discharge I've heard of.

I'm really glad the story didn't end with the wife's death. The poor guy probably feels like crap anyway. Here's a to a full, quick recovery.

11:03 AM  
Blogger Paul Simer said...



There you go. A stuck firing pin was probably the culprit. Possibly a symptom of poor maininence, but I certainly can't blame the guy. He probably ran a couple of mags through it at the range, cleaned it a little, and called it good. It's a shame it happened at home and not the range.


11:26 AM  
Blogger Nate said...

Since I have a Kel-Tec P3AT 380 in my pocket almost all the time, I'd really like to know what brand that failed gun is...

1:20 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

I was going to say something regarding muzzle direction, but I have to agree that a full auto Mak would be very difficult to control.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of the rounds went into the floor, because that's where he was pointing his gun at. All rules of firearms safety were observed. He was lucky the gun didn't do 180 and shoot him in the head.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous hathaway said...

A Makaruv went full auto on me. It had packing grease on the firing pin.

3:55 PM  
Anonymous The Bowyer Family said...

our family has had a hard time with the accident. my father cleaned the gun very well. and that had nothing to do with the accident.but please keep us in your prayers!!!!!

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

our family has had a hard time with the accident. my father cleaned the gun very good. that had nothing to do with the accident.please keep us in your prayers

The Bowyers

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your in my prayers evry night always and forever

9:35 AM  

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