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'Accidental' shooting involving North Huntingdon police officer being investigated

| Tuesday, April 2, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Detectives from Westmoreland County and North Huntingdon are investigating an accidental shooting on Sunday, when an off-duty township police officer fired a pistol and the bullet struck someone's hand, according to the police chief.

“A North Huntingdon Township officer who was off duty at the time was involved in an incident and had an unintentional discharge of a personally owned weapon, and this discharge did cause a hand injury to a second person,” township police Chief Andrew Lisiecki said Monday afternoon.

Officials would not release the names of the people who were involved. Lisiecki said the incident happened at a private residence in the township but would not say where.

Township police were dispatched to the scene at 4:10 a.m. Sunday.

Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck said the victim reportedly was taken by private vehicle to UPMC East hospital in Monroeville.

“From what I've been told, they were able to stop the bleeding there, and then the injured party was taken to a hospital,” Peck said.

The injured person was treated then transferred to UPMC Presbyterian hospital in Pittsburgh and has since been released, Lisiecki said.

“The injury is minor to moderate in nature,” he said.

Peck said that Lisiecki called his office late Monday afternoon and asked the District Attorney's Office to take over the investigation into the shooting.

“They've asked us to review the incident in its entirety to see if there is any criminal liability on somebody's part. The police chief wants to be certain as to the facts of the case,” Peck said.

“I'd like to note, (North Huntingdon) police didn't walk away from this,” he said. “They did a preliminary investigation, and from the initial notes our office received … people and the witnesses there appear to be cooperating.”

Peck declined to release the identities of the alleged shooter and the victim, pending further investigation.

“This happened at a private residence, and a person was injured as a result in what is described as an accidental firing of a gun. One participant reported they had removed the (handgun's) magazine, but there was still a bullet remaining in the chamber,” Peck said.

Peck estimated the investigation will take a “few weeks.”

County detectives Tom Horan and Mike Richardson have been assigned to the case.

Rossilynne Skena and Paul Peirce are staff writers for Trib Total Media.

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