CAMDEN — A Virginia Beach police officer was treated for a self-inflicted gunshot wound last week after accidentally discharging his firearm during a training exercise at the Academi complex in Camden County, the Camden sheriff says.
Sgt. Kevin Andrew Murphy, 54, was transported Tuesday to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital for treatment of a gunshot wound to the leg, Sheriff Kevin Jones said.
Jones said Murphy was in “good condition” following the incident. A spokeswoman for the Virginia Beach Police Department later described the officer’s wound as non-life threatening.
According to Jones, Camden deputies were notified of a shooting incident at the Academi complex in the 800 block of Puddin Ridge Road about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Academi, formerly known as Xe and before that Blackwater, offers a range of training services to the military and police agencies.
Camden deputies’ subsequent investigation determined Murphy was engaged with other Virginia Beach police officers in a routine training exercise in which officers were practicing their approach to a stopped vehicle, Jones said.
Murphy was preparing to engage a simulated target and was in the process of drawing his weapon when it accidentally discharged, Jones said. The bullet struck Murphy in the lower leg, he said.
Deputies determined the shooting was an accident, Jones said.
Master Police Officer Linda Kuehn, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Beach Police Department, confirmed Thursday that one of the department’s officers was injured during what she described as the agency’s “routine training cycle.” She declined to confirm the officer’s identity, citing the Virginia Beach department’s policy not to identify victims in such incidents.
Kuehn said the Virginia Beach Police Department will conduct an internal review of the incident. She said she couldn’t release further details because the agency considers the matter a personnel issue.
Jones, who has been Camden sheriff since last December, said he couldn’t recall a similar incident at Academi. A former state highway patrolman, Jones did recall responding to Academi a number of years ago following a vehicle accident in which a Navy sailor was killed. He also recalled the Camden Sheriff’s Office responding to a fatal helicopter crash at the Academi facility some years ago.
Jones described firearms accidents involving law enforcement officers as rare.
“Anytime you’re in these training situations with firearms, there’s always the possibility of injury due to the nature of the thing,” he said. “It’s dangerous so you have to take as many safety precautions as possible. It’s not a common occurrence, but it does happen from time to time.”
Jones said although he has looked into conducting some training for his staff at the Academi facility, the department already has a firearms range that was completed during the tenure of his predecessor, former Camden Sheriff Tony Perry.
“We already have a good facility for firearms training,” he said.
One benefit Academi’s facility offers, he said, is its “mock” towns and other features that allow for “more realistic training” scenarios like active shooter drills.