North Carolina Police Officer Accidentally Shoots Teenage Son in the Head

A North Carolina police officer accidentally shot his teen son in the head, according to authorities familiar with the matter Tuesday.

The Onslow County Sheriff's Office said deputies responded to the shooting at a residence around 4:30 p.m. on Monday and found the 15-year-old suffering from a single gunshot wound, WNCT reported.

The boy was immediately transported to a nearby hospital where he is currently being treated for a life-threatening injury, Onslow District Attorney Ernie Lee said in a statement Monday.

The alleged shooter has been identified as the boy's father, who is employed as an officer with the Jacksonville Police Department, according to Lee.

Neither the boy nor the father has been identified in media reports.

"This is a tragic event and this matter remains under investigation by the Onslow County Sheriff's Office. The reports, statements, and other evidence from the investigation will be provided to this office to determine what actions, if any, will be taken. I continue to remain in contact with the Onslow County Sheriff's Office in this on-going investigation," Lee said in a statement posted on Facebook.

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Preliminary investigations have so far suggested that the firearm in use was a handgun, and that the shooting was accidental, according to WNCT. However, it is not yet clear how the incident occurred.

The Jacksonville Police Department said Tuesday that they will work with Onslow deputies during the probe.

"The Onslow County Sheriff's Office is conducting an investigation into the incident and the Jacksonville Police Department is fully cooperating with their investigation. We ask that our community members keep our employee and their family in their thoughts and prayers at this time," Investigative Services Supervisor Lt. Christopher Funcke said in a statement, according to WNCT.

Newsweek contacted the Jacksonville Police Department for additional comment and will update this story as more information becomes available.

Police Officer Accidentally Shoots Son in Head
A North Carolina police officer accidentally shot his son in the head with a handgun on Monday, according to authorities. This stock image shows a handgun on April 17, 2007, in Centerville, Virginia. TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images

According to an investigation by the Associated Press, accidental shootings by law enforcement officers are not uncommon in the U.S. From 2012 to 2019, the AP uncovered 1,422 unintentional firearm discharges across more than 200 police agencies in the nation. Reasons for accidental shootings can vary from improperly cleaning or loading a weapon, an involuntary muscle reflex, or even because an officer tripped.

Experts have said that accidental shootings often occur because officers don't receive sufficient firearms training.

"Ninety-nine out of 100 times, there is not something wrong with the gun," Paul Markel, a former police officer and firearms instructor in Mississippi, told the news outlet. "It's the person holding it."