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U.S. Customs and Border Officer fires gun in Southwest Florida International Airport over the weekend

Posted at 9:16 PM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-29 05:43:07-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Port Authority Police confirms a U.S. Customs and Border Officer accidentally fired her gun at Southwest Florida International Airport over the weekend.

The officer has not been charged with anything. FOX 4 learned she was Baker Acted twice in less than a year. It raises the question, how can someone in law enforcement be allowed to stay an officer, let alone hold onto their work issued gun?

The incident report says that officers made contact with the employee who was "sitting on the ground partially under the desk and appeared to be physically upset." It also state that she appeared to be under the influence of alcohol.

Dr. David Thomas, former police officer and forensics professor at Florida Gulf Coast University, says, "Alcohol becomes literally the only legal thing that they can do. It's drink. And it's been part of the profession. I'm an old guy and I go back to 1978 when I started. It has been, it was part of the profession before I started and, it continues to be part of profession today as a way to relieve stress."

Thomas explains it's up to the agency whether they still allow an officer who has been Baker acted, to stay employed. He adds, they wouldn't be allowed to make a future gun purchase.

Thomas says, "When we talk about treatment, are we doing just in-house, or being baker acted to get treated and then stable, and then when we get out, there's no follow up. If there's follow up and it's mandated, then some of that is incumbent on supervisors. To kind of check on their employee to see how they're doing, and check in with other employees and see how that person's doing. So it's a balancing act to make sure that person is on the straight and narrow."

U.S. Customs and Border Protection released this statement to FOX 4:
"On April 25, U.S. Customs and Border Protection received a report of an unintentional discharge at the Southwest Florida International Airport. No injuries were reported and there was minor damage to the drywall. The incident is under investigation by the Lee County Port Authority and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Professional Responsibility. Due to employee privacy concerns, we are unable to further comment."