According to reports, a high school senior from Indiana was killed when a deputy conducting a vocational training session for law enforcement “accidentally” fired his weapon instead of a “dummy pistol.”
Thursday morning saw Deputy Tim DisPennett (a 19-year veteran from the Vermillion County Sheriff’s Office) conduct a vocational law enforcement course at South Vermillion County High School, Clinton, Indiana. The school is about 15 miles north of Terre Haute. DisPennett fired his service revolver during a demonstration. The bullet from his gun struck a male student.
“During the course today of instruction,” Dave Chapman (superintendent of South Vermillion Community School Corp.) told reporters that “they were going through some drills and during that drill, the deputy’s service revolver accidentally got discharged, hitting one our students.”
Chapman added that “Somehow the instructor reached for his dummy gun, got his service revolver, and fired it accidentally.”
The senior was given first aid immediately and was taken to Terre Haute Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Chapman said that the student described it as “a sting”.
The parents of the young man were informed and they met him at the hospital. He is expected to make a complete recovery.
Chapman stated, “I wouldn’t be surprised if he isn’t in school tomorrow.”
Others requested to leave campus, but Chapman said that students who had their parents sign them out were allowed to leave.
He admitted that he didn’t know much about the educational activities going on the rest of the time.
Indiana State Police will investigate and interview the deputies as well as the students present at the time. According to department protocol, DisPennett was placed on administrative leave.
DisPennett also works as a school resource officer but was not in that role at the time.
ISP Sgt. Matt Ames confirmed.
Ames said that once the ISP’s investigation is complete, the detectives will submit a detailed report on the incident to Vermillion County Prosecutor’s Office.
Officials described the vocational course as being “popular” among students, and has been available for three to four years. Chapman said that students use “dummy guns”, during class. Deputies were shown what to do when confronted by a bad guy at the time of the incident.
It was an isolated incident. There was no threat. Afterward, there was no threat to students. Chapman stated that it was an accident. “We are dealing with it from this end.