Discharge of gun in court ‘a fluke’

MERRIMACK – It was “a fluke” that district court officer Logan Crocker’s ankle pistol shot him in the foot while he was on duty this summer, Merrimack police said Monday, citing a report from the state forensic laboratory that said the weapon was manufactured without a certain safety pin.

The report, dated Oct. 7, was just released to Merrimack police, which can now wrap up its investigation of the July 31 incident.

“It is what is referred to as an unintentional discharge,” Merrimack Detective Scott Park said Monday. “There was no overt act that Mr. Crocker committed that would have led to any sense of recklessness. This is simply . . . a fluke.”

Crocker, of Nashua, was on duty in the lobby of Merrimack District Court wearing a .25 caliber semi-automatic Beretta on his ankle as a back-up weapon.

Park said the gun was at least 25 years old. It was not made with a metal pin to keep the hammer from slamming forward and setting off a discharge. When Crocker hiked up a pant leg, the material drew back the hammer just enough to set the gun off, firing a single round.

“It’s not a very easy act to reproduce,” Park said.

Crocker suffered a foot injury and was brought to a local hospital for treatment. To Park’s knowledge, Crocker has not returned to work, possibly because court officials were awaiting the state’s report on the Beretta.

Marc Dupre of the laboratory analyzed the Beretta, a holster, a magazine containing eight cartridges, the discharged round and its case, and Crocker’s left shoe, according to the report.

Of the pistol, Dupre “examined, test fired and found to function normally,” he wrote in a two-page report. He continued, “ . . . due to the absence of a firing pin lock in the pistol, it is possible to discharge a live cartridge without pulling the trigger when the hammer is in an uncocked position.”

Initially, there was some question as to whether Crocker was allowed to carry a second weapon in court.

Park said his investigation determined that there was no policy against having a back-up weapon, and that Crocker was qualified to use the Beretta, meaning that he was proficient by state standards.