Very Sad


PDA






Porter Glockwell
January 3, 2003, 05:47 PM
http://www.sltrib.com/2003/Jan/01032003/utah/16947.asp

Expert Killed in Gun-Lab Accident

BY MATT CANHAM
THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE

WEST VALLEY CITY -- A renowned forensic investigator died late Thursday after a rifle he was examining discharged, shooting him in the chest.
Scott R. Spjut, director of the police department's Forensic Services Unit, was looking for fingerprints on the semiautomatic weapon around 4 p.m. when it fired, said West Valley City Assistant Police Chief Craig Gibson. Police were still investigating how the gun went off.
The accident occurred in the crime lab in the basement of West Valley City Hall. Spjut, 38, was in the room by himself. A forensic investigator, a police detective and four evidence room employees were in the vicinity and heard the shot.
They provided medical aid to Spjut until he was airlifted to University Hospital.
"He was breathing when transported," said Tammy Kikuchi, city spokeswoman. Spjut underwent multiple emergency surgeries throughout the evening, while his wife, other members of his family and more than 20 police officers waited in the hospital. The doctors informed them that Spjut died from his injuries just after 10:30 p.m.
West Valley City created its forensic unit five years ago. Spjut supervised four investigators and almost daily searched firearms for fingerprints. He had at least five years of experience with West Valley City and prior experience with other forensic units, Gibson said.
"He has handled hundreds, maybe thousands, of guns," he said.
Spjut was an expert in fingerprinting who taught at a conference for the International Association for Identification in December.
"He is one of those who always gives you a little bit more than you expect," said Capt. Craig Black. "He is very serious about the integrity of his job."
At City Hall, Gibson said employees were greatly affected by the accident.
"This is a member of our family," he said. "This is really tough."
Forensic investigator Kent Timothy was at home when he heard of the shooting. He said it is highly unusual that any loaded gun would be in the forensic laboratory.
"They are all supposed to be checked before they even get entered," he said.
Investigators are not sure why the gun was loaded, who placed it in the evidence room or what crime it was connected to, Gibson said.
West Valley City officers will jointly investigate the accident with Salt Lake County sheriff's deputies.
The c ity also invited the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office to assist, Gibson said.
West Jordan police will help West Valley City with any forensic work it needs completed while its lab is closed.



I am saddened by this. Scott was my Forensics teacher a year ago when I completed my Criminal Justice degree. He was a good man, with a great sense of humor and a knowledge of forensics that was absolutely beyond belief. Rest in Peace Scott. See you later buddy.

Porter

If you enjoyed reading about "Very Sad" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
UnknownSailor
January 3, 2003, 05:55 PM
4 Rules violation.

I'm sure he was a good guy, but even good guys can get bitten when you break one of the four rules.

Sorry for your loss. :(

dave
January 3, 2003, 05:55 PM
Sorry to hear this.

RIP

Nathaniel Firethorn
January 3, 2003, 06:11 PM
Dunno how you'd safely dust a gun for prints.

Make it safe and you might smear the prints.

Don't make it safe and... :(

Sorry to hear of this. RIP.

- pdmoderator

sm
January 3, 2003, 06:14 PM
sorry for your loss

Triad
January 3, 2003, 07:07 PM
I'm trying to figure out how that could have happened. Perhaps he put himself in front of the muzzle and somehow engaged the trigger? No matter what happened, it serves as a reminder to always observe the rules. RIP.

2dogs
January 3, 2003, 07:23 PM
My condolences to any who may have known this gentleman.

That said, is it at all likely that a person would be shot accidently in the chest by a rifle?

How many times have I read on these boards that firearms do not just "discharge"- the trigger must be pulled.

How is it that the rifle got as far as it did with ammo still in it?

Excuse me if this an inappropriate time to ask.

Shawn Dodson
January 3, 2003, 07:26 PM
The most dangerous gun is an "unloaded" one.

With sincerest sympathy for your loss. May he rest in peace.

blades67
January 3, 2003, 08:24 PM
Very sad indeed.:(

thumbtack
January 3, 2003, 08:45 PM
I am sorry to hear about your lose.:(

HadEmAll
January 3, 2003, 10:49 PM
Very sad. It just takes 1 careless second or less. Here's an incident that happened a couple of weeks ago here in San Antonio. She'd dropped the magazine, left the round in the chamber, and tried to put a cocked Glock back in the factory box with the peg in the middle. While the pistol was pointing at her. She's still alive, but has lost a kidney, spleen and part of her liver at the last report I read. Mother of a young child.

By Karisa King
San Antonio Express-News

Web Posted : 12/17/2002 12:00 AM

An off-duty Bexar County jailer accidentally shot herself in the stomach Monday as she tried to unload her service-issued pistol and store it in a box.
Natalie Soriano, 24, a rookie at the adult detention center annex, was in critical condition at University Hospital, where she was undergoing surgery.

She had just finished a shift and was at her Northwest Side apartment changing out of her uniform at about 4 p.m. when her .40-caliber Glock discharged one shot into her abdomen.

A downstairs neighbor at Ingram Ranch Apartments, Stacey Alderete, 26, heard the bang and frantic screams coming from Soriano's home. She rushed upstairs and found Soriano on the bedroom floor in agony.

"She couldn't breathe. She said it burned and her back hurt," Alderete said. "She kept saying she was going to die."

Alderete pressed a towel to two wounds on Soriano's sides while they waited together for an emergency crew to arrive. She said she tried to keep Soriano talking to keep her conscious, but toward the end she could hardly speak.

Sheriff's Sgt. Skip Zimmerman said it appeared the Glock was still loaded with one round when Soriano attempted to store it in a box, which contains a pin that depressed the trigger.

"This is something she should have been very fully aware of," he said. "It could be a result of (her) being tired or not thinking, any number of things."

Family members described Soriano as a disciplined perfectionist who joined the Sheriff's Office a little more than a year ago after a tour in the U.S. Navy.

Shortly after Soriano was shot, neighbors and family members gathered outside the apartment where Soriano lives with her 6-month-old son and pet Rottweiler named Precious. They stood together in a small circle and prayed.

"I asked her if she believed in God, and she said she did," Alderete said. "We're hoping for a miracle."

kking@express-news.net

MiniZ
January 3, 2003, 11:28 PM
I'm sorry Porter....

gggarf
January 4, 2003, 12:31 AM
Tragic loss anytime but especially around the holidays. Hopefully will remind us all that no one is exempt from accidents such as these. Check, check, re-check and check again. RIP.

dfrog
January 4, 2003, 12:53 AM
Sometimes bad things happen to good people. I hope we all learn something from this.

ZekeLuvs1911
January 4, 2003, 03:07 PM
Sorry about your loss. However, he was stupid, stupid, and stupid for not observing the, "The firearm is always loaded rule." I wish his family well in dealing with the tragedy.

para.2
January 4, 2003, 03:20 PM
:( :banghead: :(

Jason Demond
January 4, 2003, 05:24 PM
:(

HS/LD
January 4, 2003, 05:31 PM
I don't mean to sound callous in anyway for such a horrific accident.

However, is there any reason to think he may have deliberately decided to take his own life?
In the military I noticed a good number of seriously depressed individuals seemed to have more accidents shooting themselves than others...

Again no disrespect intended to anyone.

Regards,
HS/LD

ROSANGHAL
January 4, 2003, 05:39 PM
I'm on my last semester in getting my Criminal Justice degree and I've made very good friends with all my instructors. If I were to get news like this it would sadden me as well.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Spjut's family and you as well Mr. Glockwell.

Ross T.

pogo2
January 4, 2003, 06:21 PM
I also wondered whether this could have been an inentional suicide by the man.

It seemed to me that it is difficult to accidently shoot yourself in the chest with a rifle, especially if you are a very experienced gun handler, as this man was. Most rifles have a long barrel, and if the muzzle is pointing at your chest, it is difficult to put your finger anywhere near the trigger. Those who wish to commit suicide with a rifle usually must intentionally snag the trigger on some fixed object and jerk the rifle toward them.

Could it be that the investigators suspect suicide, but are covering it up with the more palatable story of an accident, for the sake of his family?

M1911
January 4, 2003, 07:34 PM
I have to agree with HS/LD and pogo2. I wonder if this was actually a suicide, being painted as an accident by the department. By ruling it an accident, the life insurance company has to pay out. If it is ruled suicide, then it is my understanding that the insurance company doesn't have to pay.

Either way it is a terrible tragedy for his family and loved ones, particularly at this time of year.

M1911

Blackhawk
January 4, 2003, 07:43 PM
Very sad for Spjut's family. :(

But bowing to the reports of his expertise, other questions arise.

Guns don't "go off" accidentally.

The 4 rules are very forgiving since they require breaking two of them for this type of thing to happen.

Blackhawk
January 4, 2003, 07:46 PM
Very sorry for Natalie Soriano, too, and I hope she recovers copletely. :(

Safe gun handling knowledge and practice is not just recommended, it must be a habit. She didn't apply what she knew.

If you enjoyed reading about "Very Sad" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!