LA sheriff’s deputy accidentally opens fire in courtroom

A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy accidentally fired a gun inside a courtroom last month, potentially injuring a colleague and prompting an internal investigation, officials said.

The Sheriff’s Department confirmed in a statement that the shooting took place in the Van Nuys’ courthouse on Aug. 16, describing the incident as an "unintentional discharge," the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

A department spokeswoman declined to detail the circumstances of the shooting or say if anyone was injured.

"Due to the active investigation we are unable to offer further comment at this time, but what we can say is based on the results of the investigation, proper administrative action will be taken if warranted," the statement read.

A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Superior Court system declined to answer questions from the Times about the incident, referring all queries to the Sheriff’s Department.

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News of the shooting was first made public by Court Watch LA, an advocacy group seeking increased transparency in the county’s court system. Rebecca Brown, a legal fellow with the National Lawyers’ Guild who runs the Court Watch account, said she was first notified of the shooting Saturday.

An attorney sent a note to Court Watch saying the gun went off while the courtroom was filled with several attorneys and clients waiting to have their cases heard that morning. The attorney told Court Watch the bullet struck another deputy’s radio, and the other deputy appeared to be hurt. Details about the potential injury were not available.

Brown said she was frustrated by the lack of transparency around the shooting, as it took nearly six weeks for any information to become public.

"I can’t imagine if I worked in a courthouse, and I heard a gunshot go off and then there’s no follow up after that," she told the Times.

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