Chief: Officer accidentally fires gun into car trying to get driver into custody

A Butler Twp. police officer accidentally fired his service weapon on Wednesday while trying to get a driver into custody after a traffic stop.

The incident happened sometime after 2 p.m. in the Petland parking lot off York Commons Boulevard in Butler Twp.

Butler Twp. Police Chief John M. Porter said that Russell D. Higgins III, 19, was seen driving his dark gray 2012 Dodge Charger in a reckless manner in the area of Benchwood Road and North Dixie Drive, according to a news release.

An officer tried to stop Higgins, but he allegedly eluded the officer before stopping his vehicle in the Petland lot.

All of the vehicle’s windows were blacked out so the officer could not see the driver, the release stated.

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The officer gave multiple commands for the driver to shut off the vehicle and roll down his window, when the officer drew his service weapon and repeated his commands to the driver.

That’s when the officer accidentally discharged his weapon, firing a round through the driver’s side window into the vehicle, Porter said.

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Higgins was not struck and was taken into custody without further incident. He is accused of reckless operation, fleeing and eluding, and additional criminal and traffic charges are pending, according to the chief. As of Thursday morning, Higgins was not in the Montgomery County Jail.

The officer’s name was not released, but Porter said the incident involving the accidental discharge by the officer is under administrative review.

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