CHILLICOTHE, OH — The American Drug War claimed another casualty when a woman was shot in the head while sitting on a couch by an incompetent police officer, who fired his weapon through an exterior wall prior to raiding the home.
At about 10:30 p.m. on December 11th, a group of cops calling themselves the U.S. 23 Task Force swarmed the residence and prepared to break in and capture people for possessing drugs. One of the officers, Sgt. Brett McKnight, an 11-year-veteran of the Ross County Sheriff’s Office, negligently handled his weapon and fired a round through the exterior wall of the mobile home.
The bullet traveled into the residence and struck a woman sitting on a couch. Krystal Marie Barrows, 35, of Chillicothe, was “in critical condition” and flown by helicopter to Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, where she died the following day.
No one inside the home fired back, the Chillicothe Gazette reported. Six individuals were arrested for prohibition crimes.
Ross County Prosecutor Matt Schmidt said the round was not intentionally fired, and it’s unclear whether the gunfire was the result of a weapon malfunction or user error. But anyone with any knowledge of firearms would understand that following the most basic safety rules completely eliminates the possibility of such things happening.
The four laws of firearms safety, as commonly taught by instructors across the country, are listed below. These are taught within the first 10 minutes of any responsible Day #1 firearm training class.
- Always treat the gun as if it were loaded.
- Never point the gun at something you are not prepared to destroy.
- Keep your finger of the trigger and outside the trigger guard until your sights are on the target.
- Be sure of your target, and what is behind your target.
It would be impossible for a “malfunction” to wound Barrows if Sgt. McKnight were following basic safety guidelines. The muzzle of his gun should not be aiming at a home, nor should his finger have been near the trigger. By his negligence alone did Barrows get shot.
Krystal Barrows was the mother of three sons ages 9, 14 and 19. The Columbus Dispatch reported that she had no criminal record in Ross County aside from a misdemeanor conviction for disorderly conduct by intoxication.
Sgt. Brett McKnight has been placed on leave. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is looking into the incident.
McKnight should not get preferential treatment when facing justice. He should be treated the same as any person who stands outside a stranger’s home pointing guns at the walls. There is no excuse for what he did. Sheriff George Lavender should put the rest of his officers through some beginner-level firearm safety training, to emphasize the point.
From a policy perspective, the violent and nonsensical Drug War should be backed off and abandoned before more innocent people get killed in the police crossfire. It is clear that the enforcement is just as hazardous as the substances.
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Demand that the Sheriff back off of the Drug War and teach his officers some beginner-level firearms safety. Sgt. Brett McKnight should not get special treatment for his mistake.