June 29, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Medina police chief returns to work after gun accident

MEDINA — Police Chief Patrick Berarducci is back on the job after sustaining an accidental gunshot wound earlier this month.

Berarducci was shot in the upper right thigh April 18 when his service pistol went off as he holstered the weapon while preparing to go to work.

Chief Patrick Berarducci

The 40-caliber, hollow-point bullet pierced Berarducci’s outer thigh and came out about 4 inches lower on the same side it entered.

Berarducci and his wife, Judy, were able to stop the bleeding using the “tactical combat casualty bag” that became standard equipment in all police cruisers earlier this year.
He was taken to Medina General Hospital, where he was released that afternoon.

Berarducci, who returned to work Friday, said the wound is healing and there is no permanent damage.

“I walked 3½ miles yesterday,” he said Monday.

Berarducci said the pistol discharged when the portion of his leather holster that normally covers the trigger guard buckled inward and caught the trigger.

“When I shoved the gun down into the holster, it went off,” he said.

Berarducci said Sgt. Scott Marcum, the department’s firearms instructor, is investigating the possibility that leather holsters might be a problem with some of the new pistols used by police that feature “double-action” triggers that both cock and fire the pistol with a single pull.

“The issue isn’t with the duty holsters — they’re made of hard plastic,” Berarducci said. “The issue is with plainclothes officers and off-duty type holsters,” that may be made of leather that becomes softer and more pliable with age.

An accident similar to what happened to Berarducci is described on a website for concealed-carry gun owners, www.usacarry.com.

Berarducci, 62, who served nearly 30 years as an agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives before becoming Medina’s police chief in August 2009, said the holster he was using the day of the accident was “probably 15 years old.”

“It’s an issue we need to be aware of,” he said.

Contact David Knox at (330) 721-4065 or dknox@medina-gazette.com.