A high-ranking trooper accidentally fired her service weapon this week at the headquarters of the N.C. Highway Patrol in downtown Raleigh.
Maj. Patricia Poole, who commands the patrol's administrative services staff, was inside a bathroom in the Archdale Building when her .357 caliber Smith & Wesson discharged.
No one was injured.
"Stuff happens," said Sgt. Jeff Gordon, the patrol's spokesman. "When you go to the restroom, you have about 10 pounds of gear you have to take down to do .... whatever."
Gordon said he did not hear the shot and he didn't know where the wayward bullet ended up.
Civilians taking firearms training are typically coached not to have a round chambered in the weapon unless they intend to fire as a precaution against accidental discharge.
However, troopers and other law enforcement officers are trained to have a round chambered even when their weapon is holstered, so they are ready to draw and fire immediately when a life-threatening situation occurs.
Gordon said that standard of readiness applies whenever the trooper is on duty, even if he or she is only pushing paperwork at headquarters.
"There are workplace shootings all the time," Gordon explained.
As is standard protocol in cases where a service weapon is discharged accidentally, there will be an internal inquiry. Poole while then be sent to remedial firearms training, Gordon said.