Deputy accidentally shoots himself

A Washington County Sheriff’s Office detective who accidentally shot himself in the stomach Tuesday night was expected to be released from the hospital late Thursday.

Lt. Mark Johnson, an 18-year veteran of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, discharged the gun while trying to remove it from its holster, said Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks.

The gun, a .40 caliber Smith & Wesson M&P, had become caught, he said.

“He had gone home off duty and his weapon was stuck in his holster. He had taken off his holster and when he tugged on the gun it came out and also went off,” Mincks said.

Johnson was transported to Marietta Memorial Hospital Tuesday night and underwent surgery to close up a tear in the lining of his abdominal wall, the sheriff said.

The bullet hit Johnson at a downward angle, penetrating his skin but not hitting any organs.

Mincks said he will likely be placed on paid sick leave as he recovers.

Johnson had been at a training session earlier in the day and had been required to check in the weapon during the training, said Mincks.

“Apparently (the gun) was inserted backwards and that’s what causes it to stick,” he said.

However, the gun should not become entangled in the holster in any scenario and Mincks speculated there might be an issue with Johnson’s holster.

“We reenacted it with an unloaded gun and we couldn’t get it out,” said Mincks.

The incident is being investigated by Det. Sgt. Greg Nohe of the Marietta Police Department, he said.

Mincks said he does not anticipate any disciplinary action against Johnson, who has been employed by the sheriff’s office since March of 1995.

The incident was the only accidental gun discharge Mincks can recall happening in the agency.