Officer on leave after accidental shooting wounds comrade

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THOMSON – A firearms instructor was placed on administrative leave today after an accidental shooting wounded a fellow state law enforcement officer outside the Georgia State Patrol Post.

Larry Schnall, a spokesman for the Georgia Department of Public Safety, identified the firearms instructor as Sgt. Lee Robertson. The instructor was outside the patrol post about noon checking a weapon when it accidentally discharged wounding Officer Johnny Pearson, authorities say.

Officer Pearson, who has worked several years for the Georgia Department of Public Safety Motor Carrier Compliance Division, was struck in the right leg, just below the knee.

He was taken by ambulance to Medical College of Georgia Hospital, said Capt. James Brummett. His condition was not made public.

Mr. Schnall said Sgt. Robertson will be paid while on administrative leave pending an internal affairs investigation.

The shooting is being described as an accident. Mr. Schnall said it occurred when Sgt. Robertson was inspecting a handgun, which reportedly had a problem.

The weapon discharged with the bullet going through the trunk of a patrol car and ricocheting out the side, striking Officer Pearson, Mr. Schnall said.

The Georgia Department of Public Safety Motor Carrier Compliance Division conducts safety inspections of commercial motor vehicles – mostly trucks and buses – inspects highway shipments of hazardous materials and performs compliance reviews – safety performance audits.

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