Police cadet accidentally shoots fellow cadet at Fresno training center

A Fresno police cadet was accidentally shot by another cadet Monday afternoon during the first day of weapons training at the police department’s gun range.

Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer said the accident happened shortly before 5 p.m. as cadets were finishing the day’s training with the Fresno City College Police Academy at the gun range southwest of Fresno, near West Hayes and South Central avenues and south of the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

Cadets were cleaning their guns when one cadet, whose identity was not released, accidentally fired a round at the victim’s pelvic area. The cadet who fired the gun is not affiliated with any law enforcement agency, Dyer said.

The victim, who Dyer described as “sharp” and in his early 20s, was transported to Community Regional Medical Center. The cadet is in stable condition and was awaiting X-rays Monday evening to see if surgery was needed.

Dyer said the gun range is operated and organized by the State Center Community College District and features cadets who are either going through the training as employees of various law enforcement agencies or through the college district in hopes of landing a job afterward.

Monday marked the first time this year’s cadets, who enrolled in the training program in January, practiced using firearms. The program, Dyer said, lasts through June. Seven cadets have already been hired by the Fresno Police Department.

The victim has been with the Fresno Police Department for about a year. The gun discharge is believed to be accidental, Dyer said, but the department and the college district will conduct a joint investigation. The cadet who fired the weapon will be disciplined by the college district.

Dyer said incidents like these are rare: Monday marked the first accidental shooting involving a Fresno police employee in 35 years, he said.

“We’re very fortunate today there weren’t any serious injuries,” Dyer said. “It’s unfortunate that we had an accidental discharge with a cadet, but we’re very fortunate that the round did not cause any more of an injury than it did.”