A 7-year-old girl from Bassetlaw, England, won a coloring contest and her prize, along with the other winners, was a trip to the local Nottinghamshire police station where officers would show the kids how a police department works behind the scenes. But in the middle of the tour, one of the officers accidentally shot the little girl in the face with a machine gun.
Thankfully, the accident was not as bad as it sounded. It appears that the girl was hit only with a discharged cartridge, not the actual bullet from the automatic weapon.
The officer, who like the young victim has not been named publicly, accidentally discharged the weapon into the ground while displaying the machine gun to the children. The girl suffered what was described as a “minor injury to her lip” and did not require hospitalization.
But obviously the incident could have been a lot worse, and in a country where most police officers do not even carry guns at all, the frightening mishap has local parents and officials calling for an investigation into why a police officer was wielding a loaded machine gun around a group of children in the first place.
“I am shocked, concerned and alarmed,” said Nottinghamshire Police Commissioner Paddy Tippington. “This is a very serious incident and I have discussed it at length with the Chief Constable. I have received assurances it will never happen again.”
The incident apparently took place on October 30, but was made public only on Thursday. The Nottinghamshire police are also under fire for sitting on the incident for a week.
Police said they did not make a public announcement because they did not need to find additional witnesses, due to the fact that the potentially disastrous gun accident took place inside a police station.
The girl’s family were understandably described as “shocked” by the incident and have filed a complaint with the local police.
The Member of Parliament who represents the Bassetlaw region, John Mann, ripped the Nottinghamshire Police for issuing what he called a “sanitized” description of the near-deadly gun accident.
“It is extremely worrying,” Mann said. “The police checked this weapon, claimed that it had no ammunition in it, then fired it off and found that it did. Why was there ammunition in a weapon to begin with? An awful lot of basic procedures have not been followed here. Weapons should not have ammunition in them when they are being stored.”
The Nottinghamshire Independent Police Commission is now investigating how the 7-year-old girl went on what was supposed to be an educational field trip to a police station and ended up shot in the face, luckily without serious consequences.