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#1695698 - 07/08/03 06:31 AM (19 years, 8 months ago)
Detroit cop shoots self with own gun at border
Officials believe man was trying to hide pistol under front seat of car
Dave Battagello Star Border Reporter, Windsor Star
A Detroit police officer accidentally shot himself in the leg Monday when he tried to hide his gun after his car was pulled over by Canada Customs at the Ambassador Bridge .
Michael Allen, 22 and three friends were heading to Casino Windsor around 2:30 a.m. when a customs officer at the bridge directed the off-duty Detroit cop's Monte Carlo to the secondary inspection area.
After parking the car, Allen is believed to have pulled his .40-calibre Glock pistol from either a waist holster or concealed leg holster in an attempt to hide it under the car's front seat .
The gun discharged, firing a bullet through a bone in Allen's leg.
"The guy mangled his leg pretty badly," said Marie-Claire Coupal, local union president for customs officers. "Our officers administered first aid until the ambulance arrived."
Allen was rushed to Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital before being transferred to Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak where sources said he underwent an eight-hour surgery. Beaumont officials said Wednesday that Allen remains at the hospital in good condition.
Customs seized the gun and Monte Carlo. Allen's three friends were sent back to the U.S.
The Detroit officer is facing numerous charges by Windsor police under the criminal code and Canada Customs under the Customs Act, although none have yet been filed.
"He whacked himself pretty good," said Staff Sgt. Ed McNorton of Windsor police. "It's a perfect example of how dangerous it can be in handling firearms.
"He knew he shouldn't have been carrying a gun into Canada. He could have checked it in and picked it up on the way back. Now he is looking at some pretty serious charges."
McNorton said criminal charges against Allen should be filed sometime this week. They will likely include unauthorized possession of a firearm and unauthorized possession of a firearm in a motor vehicle.
Police in Detroit routinely carry their guns when off-duty. The gun Allen was carrying is the same calibre and similar to those carried by Windsor police officers. It is made of polymer, a plastic-type material which is very light.
Danny Yen, local spokesman for the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, said while not actual policy, the opportunity for U.S. police officers to check in their guns has been "offered for many years." The guns are tagged and locked up until the officer returns to pick it up on way back to the U.S.
"Many officers take advantage of it," Yen said.
Yen said the incident involving the Detroit police officer is under investigation by Canada Customs and he could not say if or when charges might be filed.
"The immediate concern was for medical attention for the party at the scene," he said.
Among possible customs charges would be possessing an unreported weapon and attempting to conceal the weapon.
A media relations officer for Detroit Police would say little about the shooting at the bridge.
"It's all under investigation, so we are not going to make any statement at this time," said Sgt Eleanor McBurrows. "It's being handled by our professional accountability bureau."
McBurrows said she did not know whether Allen had been suspended.
It was the second incident in 13 days at Windsor's customs plazas involving guns and police officers from across the border.
At the tunnel plaza on June 18, undercover Michigan State police officers stormed through customs unannounced following a high-speed chase and conducted an arrest at gunpoint at the Park Street exit.
You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers
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