Bridgeport Police Officer Charged After Accidentally Shooting Himself

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BRIDGEPORT — State police have charged a Bridgeport police officer with unlawful discharge of a firearm after a Dec. 17 incident in which he accidentally shot himself.

Officer Juan Santiago, 55, was at the Bagel King restaurant at 3550 Main St. with three other Bridgeport police officers when “he mishandled a firearm … and discharged the round through the thigh area of his left leg,” state police said. The gun was not his department-issue pistol, Bridgeport police said at the time.

No one else was injured. Santiago was treated at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport.

Six days later, state police detectives were assigned by the Bridgeport state’s attorney to investigate the incident.

Police said they determined that Santiago mishandled the gun, causing it to fire. They obtained an arrest warrant charging him with unlawful discharge of a firearm.

Santiago turned himself in at the Bethany barracks at 9:30 a.m. Monday. He was released on a promise to appear in court Feb. 18 in Superior Court in Bridgeport.

Santiago remains on the job, but is assigned to desk duty.

“First, I would like to say we are grateful that the officer is recovering from his injury,” Bridgeport Police Chief Joseph L. Gaudett Jr. said. “We have said from the outset that we requested the state police handle the investigation so the public would have confidence that it would be fair and unbiased. The state police conducted a thorough investigation, consulted with the state’s attorney’s office and made a determination that we will respect.”

By David Owens, Hartford Courant

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