57ºF

Ocala police officer dies after accidental shooting

Officer shot during firearms training at Lowell Prison

photo

OCALA, Fla. – An Ocala police officer died Monday after he was accidentally shot during training.

[RAW: Ocala police chief holds news conference]

Police said Officer Jared Forsyth, 33, was shot during firearms training at Lowell Correctional Institution on NW Gainesville Road at 3 p.m.

20998406

Chief Greg Graham said an officer was unloading his gun when it discharged, ricocheting off of a bench and striking Forsyth, who was about 30 feet from the gun. He was hit in the arm and chest.

Forsyth, who had been with the department since April 16, 2012, had a bulletproof vest on, but the bullet went through the side.

Some instructors at the firearms training gave Forsyth first aid until paramedics arrived.

Forsyth was taken to Ocala Regional Medical Center in critical condition and underwent surgery.  Police said they were notified at 5:30 p.m. that he had died.

"I wish I had 100 like him," Graham said, adding that Forsyth was a great, funny guy.

"He will be missed by all his OPD family and we will keep his family and loved ones in our prayers," police said.

The firearms training is a semi-annual exercise. Graham said they would reevaluate before next Monday's training session..

Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn said Forsyth had gone to Ireland with some fellow officers to visit their sister city. He helped swear the officer in nearly three years ago.

"He was a special, special man. I'm so very sorry for his death," Guinn said.

The officer whose gun went off is on paid administrative leave. The department said it's standard and for his emotional well-being.

Police said the last on-duty death at the Ocala Police Department was 60 years ago. FDLE has now been called in to investigate Monday's shooting, according to police

The department said they have received support and assistance from various agencies offering to help with calls for service.