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Article updated: 4/17/2013 5:10 PM

Retired cop accidentally shoots own leg at Des Plaines school

By Madhu Krishnamurthy

A retired Chicago police officer visiting his grandson's Boy Scout troop meeting at a Des Plaines school accidentally dropped a loaded gun and shot himself in the leg Monday night, a Des Plaines police official said Wednesday.

The shooting occurred at Iroquois Community School shortly before 9 p.m., well after the regular school day had ended.

The retired officer, who also is a Scout troop leader for Des Plaines Troop 38, dropped a fanny pack that contained his old revolver, police said. The revolver fell on its hammer, causing it to fire.

"The gun discharged and fortunately it only struck him," Police Chief William Kushner said.

The retired officer did nothing illegal, as he is certified and licensed to carry a concealed firearm, said Kushner.

"There is no law prohibiting firearms in the school," he added.

Paramedics took the former officer in serious condition to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Kushner said.

"This is an unfortunate accident," the chief added. "There was no collateral damage. Nobody else was injured."

In an email to parents, Iroquois Principal Michael Amadei said he and District 62 Superintendent Jane Westerhold were on-site at the school shortly after the accident and are thankful that no students were injured.

"We were relieved to hear that the leader's injuries were not as serious as anticipated," the letter reads. "Of course, the district does not condone bringing firearms on school grounds."

Amadei states the school district will work with the Boy Scouts of America Northwest Suburban Council and the police department "to clarify any questions that arise."

District 62 spokeswoman Mindy Ward said Wednesday district officials have not made any determination whether to change policy about allowing firearms in school buildings.

"Our main concern is that everyone was not harmed," Ward said. "This really is a matter for the Boy Scouts of America to take care of because they have very specific policies about firearms in schools."

Boy Scout Troop 38 Scoutmaster Bryan Hedstrom said the meeting was over and scouts and parents were exiting the school when the accident occurred. "For the most part everybody had left," he added, deferring all other questions to the Northwest Suburban Council.

A council spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.

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