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Cop, trainee hurt in accidental firing at training school

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National Police chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos sought a review of the force’s policy on weapons training following an accidental firing incident that left a police instructor and his trainee wounded.

“If accidents like this can happen in training even under controlled conditions, it is likely to happen anytime during the course of normal police functions involving firearms and live ammunition,” Carlos said.

The PNP chief was referring to an incident at the Regional Training School 1 (RTC-1) in Aringay, La Union, on Tuesday afternoon.

Cpl. Benny Duyapat, an instructor at the RTC-1, and his trainee, Patrolman John Conrad Villanueva, were injured in the incident.

Initial investigation indicated that Villanueva and other trainees were in the middle of a firearms familiarization session with a demonstration on operating a caliber-.45 pistol, when the demo gun malfunctioned and discharged a round.

Duyapat was hit on one palm and Villanueva was hit on the right thigh. Both were initially brought to the Caba District Hospital for treatment.

Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Peralta, Ilocos regional police director, has already ordered a thorough investigation into the incident.

He also directed the Regional Special Training Unit to directly coordinate with the PNP Training Institute, which is in charge of conducting the basic police recruit course and ask it to revisit their manual of instruction and re-train trainers.

Carlos, himself a qualified firearms instructor and weapons specialist, reminded trainers that guns are standard police equipment that must be handled only by properly-trained personnel with updated certification on firearms proficiency and safety.

“Safety is paramount in weapons training and every instructor must not fall behind this primary consideration,” he stressed.

“We will determine the veracity of the claim that this was purely accidental, at the same time, we remind our instructors to ensure safety at all times,” Carlos added.

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