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Lafayette police officer struck in accidental shooting released from hospital

Officer Lane Butler has been released from the hospital and is recovering from an accidental, discharged bullet.

Posted: Jan. 11, 2019 5:39 PM
Updated: Jan. 16, 2019 4:59 AM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Officer Lane Butler has been released from the hospital and is recovering from an accidental, discharged bullet wound.

This is according to the Lafayette Police social media accounts.

Story from January 11th, 2019

Lafayette Police said a review board concluded the officer shooting that injured Officer Lane Butler, was not the result of negligence. It was accidental.

"These things again happen really, really fast," said LPD Chief Patrick Flannelly. 

Police said Aaron Wright, the LPD officer whose gun discharged and hit Butler, was reaching for a cage door with an angry dog in it. Police said Wright was trying to stop the dog. That's when Chief Flannelly said the firearm "twisted in his hand," and discharged upon hitting an open door, striking Officer Butler.

As the 107 pound dog broke out of its cage, Chief Flannelly said fight or flight reflexes most likely caused Wright's finger to contract on the trigger.

"If we give a loud clap or boom where your hands will instinctively close and that's why as firearms instructors and as police officers that's why we train never to keep your finger on the trigger," he said.

Watch the full news conference here.

Flannelly said Officer Wright has accepted responsibility and is devastated. He will not face termination or suspension, according to Flannelly.

"Officer Wright is a good officer. He is a valued member of our agency," he said. "As we close this investigation we want to ensure that Officer Wright understands that we are all accountable and we are all responsible for our actions."

The chief also said Butler wanted to pass along that she is resting and recovering. She thanks the community for their support. She was just days away from reaching her third year with LPD, Flannelly said.

At 8:50 a.m. Tuesday, Officer Kurt Sinks was dispatched to 813 North 9th Street. During Sinks' investigation, dispatch received an anonymous call that there was someone in the apartment wanted on a warrant. Police said the person allegedly had a past with weapons and drugs. Sinks asked for additional help around 10:50 a.m. and Officer Butler arrived, followed by Officer Wright. 

Body camera video shows the resident unlock the door for the officers. She warns them about the dog in the home. The officers then enter the home, with guns pointed. You can hear the dog barking and the door to the cage beginning to give way. That's when Officer Wright tried to stop the dog, and the weapon "twisted in his hand," and went off.  It hit Butler in the upper-left shoulder, above a protected vest.

"Video is only one perspective, it's what the camera captures," said Chief Flannelly. "It does not capturet the emotions, what an officer feels, what they see, what they sense."

Flannelly says it was less than 25 seconds from the time Officer Wright entered, to the time the firearm went off. From the time Officer Butler was shot, to when she entered the ambulance was two and a half minutes, according to Flannelly.

Click to watch Officer Kurt Sinks body camera video (This video is graphic) 

"Our officer was injured, but the city doesn't stop," said Flannelly. "We are a family at LPD. When one of us gets injured or hurt, we all get injured or hurt."

Police hope to have Wright back on duty Monday. Flannelly has a message from Officer Butler: "She wanted me to share that she is resting and she's recovering and wanted to thank everyone for the outpouring of support. We're going to pray for her continued recovery."

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