In the line of duty?


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Owen Sparks
March 27, 2011, 01:13 AM
I was reading some local history last night and found out how our first town marshal was killed in the 1870's. I had seen his name on a monument dedicated to the handfull of lawmen "killed in the line of duty" in my county
I always wondered what happened. Last night I found a copy of an ancient newspaper account of what really happened.

He was attending a meeting at the mayors office one night and the office got cold so he went outside to fetch some coal to stoke the stove. When he bent over to fill the scuttle his revolver fell from a concealed holster under his vest and landed on the pile of cole hammer first and discharged. The "ball" struck him in the left chest and passed all the way through his body puncturing his left lung.
He managed to stagger back up the stairs to the meeting where the local doctor was in attendance though nothing could be done for him and he died the next morning.

Live round under the hammer. He should have known better.

This just made me wonder how many "fallen heros" died due to stupidity? I can think of several gun related accidents involving police in my town though none have died, there has been damage and injury. We are all familiar with DEA officer who shot himself in front of a class room full of kids but how often does this sort of thing really happen?

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HorseSoldier
March 27, 2011, 01:18 AM
All too frequently, even if it's not that frequent. I can think of at least one incident in the last year where an LEO shot and killed a fellow officer during a low stress range session, though I don't recall the specific jurisdiction.

nalioth
March 27, 2011, 01:22 AM
This just made me wonder how many "fallen heros" died due to stupidity?Stupidity?

Maybe he felt having 6 loaded was less risk than an empty under the hammer?

Since you don't specify where "here" is, he might have had a really good reason to do so.

Since you weren't there 140 years ago, I think "stupidity" is kinda strong. . .

Owen Sparks
March 27, 2011, 01:49 AM
I don’t want to name the exact location due to the fact that he has ancestors who are prominent citizens still living here and his name is on that monument.

The old single action revolvers did not have any kind of hammer block or transfer and the firing pin rested directly on a primer. This was a common and well known danger in those days and people who knew what they were doing did not keep a live round under the hammer for routine carry. Any bump against the hammer, holstered or not could discharge the pistol.

nalioth
March 27, 2011, 01:51 AM
The old single action revolvers did not have any kind of hammer block or transfer and the firing pin rested directly on a primer. This was a common and well known danger in those days and people who knew what they were doing did not keep a live round under the hammer for routine carry. Any bump against the hammer, holstered or not could discharge the pistol.. . . while the other side of the coin saw folks carrying 6, because they felt safer with 6 live ones than 5.

Without naming the locality, I'm not sure why you posted this.

ZCORR Jay
March 27, 2011, 11:07 AM
Accidents happen. The only thing we can look at after they happen is the events that took place and the situations that helped shape the events.

Are the accidents due to carelessness/ negligence or was it a one in a million chance?

kingpin008
March 27, 2011, 08:21 PM
I also think that "stupidity" is a bit strong. You didn't know the man, and you don't know the people he had to deal with day in and day out in his job as Marshal. Perhaps he was a fool to do so, but he may have also been a realist and carried that way on purpose. Without knowing more, you really don't have the right to pass judgement.

ColtPythonElite
March 27, 2011, 08:25 PM
It sounds like it was an unfortunate accident. I don't see anything "stupid" on his part.

Spirit 1
March 27, 2011, 10:40 PM
Thanks, Owen, any safety reminder is a good one. Matter of fact I have a revolver that should be carried with the hammer on an empty round, but I didn't realize that at first. It's old and my newer stuff has disconnects or FPB, and I din't think of it. Fortunately I didn't shoot myself before finding out. I found out because I got curious after somebody posted elsewhere something very similar to what you posted. Stupid of me not to check in the first place...

hso
March 27, 2011, 10:45 PM
How often?

Any injury or death due to negligent use of a firearm is too often, but it is unlikely that any realistic statistics exist simply because some of these deaths will be treated as accidental instead of negligence and others might go unreported.

Essentially it is a question without a believable answer.

Leanwolf
March 28, 2011, 01:18 AM
Here is a link to a recreation of a tragic accident, March 5, 2011, in which a student in a CCW class, was killed. This should never have happened... but, as in 20/20 hindsight, it did.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7AMMF7WaB8

Never, ever try this, or try and teach it, if you're an instructor.

L.W.

Jim Watson
March 28, 2011, 08:47 AM
The old single action revolvers did not have any kind of hammer block or transfer and the firing pin rested directly on a primer.

At the time, Colt operating instructions called for carrying the SAA with six rounds loaded and the hammer in the quarter cock safety notch, off the primer. True, the hammer notch or the sear tip of the trigger are subject to being broken out but that was considered an acceptable risk AT THE TIME.

Actually, we don't know what kind of gun the marshal was carrying.
In the 1870s the SAA was new and going mostly to the Army. It is also a big gun to be carrying concealed under a vest. He might well have had some sort of "bulldog" with a rebounding hammer that could be overriden by the drop.

But the standards were different in those days. I bet his family did not sue the gunmaker.

blarby
March 28, 2011, 09:01 AM
Very good link, leanwolf.

Think everyone should watch that one... Sure thats why you posted it.

Vern Humphrey
March 28, 2011, 12:28 PM
Nowadays most LEOs who die the line of duty die in automobile accidents.

SSN Vet
March 28, 2011, 12:35 PM
All this makes me wonder when the hammer block for revolvers came out?

Claude Clay
March 28, 2011, 02:01 PM
Ruger 1973 . 1st year of production with a transfer bar

Vern Humphrey
March 28, 2011, 03:02 PM
All this makes me wonder when the hammer block for revolvers came out?
Around 1894 Iver Johnson brought out their hammer block with the slogan "Hammer the hammer."

woad_yurt
March 29, 2011, 02:11 PM
Vern Humphrey:

Thank you for saying that. It's refreshing to see due credit given.

10-96
March 30, 2011, 01:05 AM
You might search for the lawman here: http://www.odmp.org/

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