Deputy John Parsons, a Berks County, Pennsylvania deputy sheriff, was on the 17th floor of the Berks County Courthouse. He and another deputy were trying to determine if the service holster they used was susceptible to an unintentional trigger pull.
The sheriff had received an alert from the U.S. Marshal Service about the holster, the Blackhawk LV3 tactical holster, stating there was a possible defect. So the deputies, both firearms instructors, wanted to test the holsters.
According to a statement from the sheriff's office the two were trying to determine if the holster was susceptible to a suspect reaching inside the holster and pulling the trigger. "The objective of the training exercise was to prevent a scenario such as this from happening," said the sheriff. "During the training process, another sheriff's deputy was able to reach over and grab Deputy Parsons' weapon, at which time Deputy Parsons' gun accidentally discharged."
Before testing the holster both deputies unloaded their guns. They were unable to duplicate the unintentional trigger pull and were preparing to go back to work. Parsons reloaded his pistol but the second deputy did not realize that.
"Within a few minutes the other deputy said he figured it out and reached for Parsons' gun and it went off," said the sheriff.
Parsons, who was shot in the leg, was taken to the hospital for emergency surgery. The other deputy was placed on desk duty. Both deputies were offered counseling and assistance from the union trauma support team.
The department has decided to no longer use the holsters.