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Video: Pa. Trooper Accidentally Shoots, Kills Pregnant Wife

March 10, 2014  | 

VIDEO: Pa. Trooper Accidentally Shoots, Kills Pregnant Wife

Police released the identity of a pregnant woman accidentally shot to death Friday afternoon in Montgomery County, Pa., by her husband, a state trooper.

JoAnne Miller, who was 22 weeks pregnant, was taken to Mercy Suburban Hospital with a gunshot wound to the upper body. She died soon after she was admitted. Doctors performed an unsuccessful emergency cesarean. "The baby never had its own breathing or heartbeat," Montgomery County coroner Walter Hofman told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The shooting in the home on the 3000 block of Stony Creek Road in East Norriton occurred around 2:30 p.m. Friday, police said. The officer pulled the trigger while taking apart his .45-caliber handgun for cleaning but did not realize the gun was loaded, police said.

"He's been distraught, cooperative," said Kevin Steele, Montgomery County first assistant district attorney.

Tags: Pennsylvania State Police, Accidental Discharges


Comments (23)

Displaying 1 - 23 of 23

Ex Cop @ 3/10/2014 4:27 PM

He's not supposed to have any "accidental discharges". That's why he, and everybody else, went thru hour upon hour of firearms training. That's why the first thing we're taught, before we even see a gun in the academy, is the first law of firearms safety. I'm most sorry for their two children. Having said that, there's a lot "unsaid" in this story and I'll be very interested to follow the news further.

Sam Dickson @ 3/10/2014 4:38 PM

Heartbreaking. I hope we all at least are reminded to religiously follow the rules of safe gun-handling. You break a couple of them at the same time, and have a negligent discharge and this is the tragedy that happens.

Doc @ 3/10/2014 5:59 PM

Ex Cop, I'm glad to see that the first thing you do is come out "shooting" about "no accidental discharges". There are two types of people when we talk about firearms, those that have had AD's and those that are gonna! Quit being holier then thou about this incident. Stop criticizing until the investigation is over. who knows, you might be the next one with an AD!

John C @ 3/10/2014 6:27 PM

Hey Doc, that's why he goes by "Ex Cop"........another one who knows everything about this most noble of professions....I'm sure he's an Ex, not proudly retired, and I'm sure he will say that he left of his own accord and not by being given the old, "resign or you can be terminated" choice given to those not worthy of wearing the shield.........
Mine and my department's prayers go out to the entire family, whatever the circumstances.

Sven Olafson @ 3/10/2014 7:18 PM

I am a retired cop. This should not have happened. Something is wrong with this situation. My thoughts are that this was not an accident. Sorry for the kids.

p2 dawg @ 3/10/2014 8:17 PM

Sorry. Can't agree with doc and John C. Gun handling is not like motorcycle riding. Most cops retire honerably without an AD. All guns are always loaded, keep your finger off the trigger and don't point at anything you are not willing to shoot. That being said, the cop gets the benefit of the doubt about this being an accident. Tragedy for everyone.

Capt. Crunch @ 3/10/2014 8:24 PM

I agree with Doc and John C, we all feel sorry for the officer and his family. If anybody thinks that this cannot happen to them because they are perfect or because they follow the rules they have another guess coming. May God bless us all.

p2 dawg @ 3/10/2014 8:51 PM

Nobody said it can't happen to them. However, by claiming that everyone has had an AD or WILL have an AD, you discredit everyone who is meticulous about how they handle their weapon. The officer in question pointed a gun in the direction of another human being, pressed the trigger and did not realize the gun was loaded. May God bless us all indeed.

rick @ 3/10/2014 8:54 PM

Unless the gun malfunctioned, it is a negligent discharge, not accidental, as he was negligent in not following firearms safety rules.

crispianranger @ 3/11/2014 12:10 AM

No matter how it happened, its dreadful to hear.

Greg @ 3/11/2014 4:04 AM

It was accidental...it was careless/negligent/inexcuseable. I feel so sorry for the poor woman and her baby. I feel sorry for the surviving children. I don't feel sorry for sloppy stupidity that killed.

As other have said, not everyone will have an AD in their lifetime/career...just the careless. Just how forgiving are people when a civilian is in this same position? Not at all.

SgtG @ 3/11/2014 8:07 AM

First of all lets not lose sight of what we have. We have a brother that is hurting over the death of his wife and we should all get together and pray for him and his family instead of rushing to judgement.

Second I agree with both points of argument. Yes as Law Enforcement we should all be held to a higher standard when it comes to firearms, but accidents happen no matter how safe you are. I have been in Law Enforcement for 17yrs and have been a firearms instructor for 12 of those years. With that being said, I have made mistakes with firearms, and even had a friend shoot a round off inside my home which struck my oven. Thank God no one was hurt, but it happens. Not saying that it should happen but they are called accidents for a reason.

Brother my prayers are with you during this hard time.

altabill @ 3/11/2014 10:28 AM

Gun cleaining accident?! There is no such thing as an accidental discharge. Firing a gun unintentionally is the result of negligence and/or recklessness. These stories always make you wonder what might really be going on. If it was unintentional he needs to be held accountable for the taking of another life by neligent handling of a firearm

Capt. Crunch @ 3/11/2014 11:56 AM

@ altabill, true story a police chief in a town here in the US was carrying a Glock model 22 while on duty and the cord of his uniform jacket got in the way of the trigger and the pistol shot while still in the hostler into the chief's leg. The chief's hands were not on or near the pistol when it shot. What would you call this?

Capt. Crunch @ 3/11/2014 11:56 AM

@ altabill, true story a police chief in a town here in the US was carrying a Glock model 22 while on duty and the cord of his uniform jacket got in the way of the trigger and the pistol shot while still in the hostler into the chief's leg. The chief's hands were not on or near the pistol when it shot. What would you call this?

Doc @ 3/11/2014 3:02 PM

Again if you haven't had a AD then good for you! If you handle firearms long enough the percentage that you are gonna have an AD increase. Don't think again that you are "holier then thou" and you will never make a mistake because you are law enforcement. I also didn't say everyone was going to have an AD, just that everyone has the potential too.Possibly he was cleaning a Glock which means he had to drop the striker to disassemble the weapon. I think there are some kicking this man when he's down. There's no punishment that anyone can pass on him that hasn't already happened. I don't understand why there isn't more sympathy for this officer. By the way vehicle collisions are called what? Some of the time they are just that.

HRPufnstuf @ 3/12/2014 5:30 AM

Agreed, it's NEVER accidental. I've had two (although one was a BB gun). But I pulled the trigger both times. Negligent, nothing accidental about it. I was ashamed, embarrassed, and hurt, but fortunately both injuries were minor. Scared the hell out of myself with the .357 though. Finally learned on that one.

S.S. @ 3/12/2014 6:02 AM

This is truly a tragedy. Im not gonna put down or criticize the trooper. Hes the one who has to live with this. Him and his family. Especially the children. May she and her child r.i.p. May God be with you and see you through this difficult time.

Greg @ 3/14/2014 3:41 AM

"By the way vehicle collisions are called what? Some of the time they are just that."

Hmmmm, if the driver was texting..an accident? If the driver was drunk...an accident? If the driver was changing radio stations/dropped his cigarette/speeding...an accident? The poor wife and unborn child were accidently killed, the behavior that caused it was not. Eventually, people should be held responsible for their actions.

Louie Enrique @ 3/16/2014 3:07 AM

He didn't realize his .45 handgun was loaded, well like many then and now feeling distraught and feeling sorry endlessly won't bring back the dead. As a cop you got lackadaisical and simply cut corners to do things safe and get it over with.,. How about manslaughter or attempted assault and murder? What comes around goes around and will make it know that it's here, the charges prosecution evidence and the court of law!

Russ @ 3/17/2014 11:29 AM

Doc, You say accidents are called What? They are called accidents but if you are a cop, you would know ALL accidents are preventable.

The man @ 4/21/2014 8:09 AM

I first want to say how sorry I am for the family's lost. It's unfortunate how sometimes these things happen to law enforcement officers. Complacency is very difficult to overcome and that's why its absolutely critical we must always remind ourselves when we are sitting in the squad car and handling firearms. Basics teach us if a firearm is out of your direct control even for one spilt second, the first thing you do is check it. There is no such thing as an accidental discharge. Four things have to occur: 1, the weapon must be functional, 2, it must be loaded, 3, it must be pointing at someone or some thing, 4, the trigger must be pulled. In addition, where was the muzzle management or discipline while someone else was in the room? Most officers shoot themselves when they are recovering to the holster, because they are not thinking and their finger is on the trigger. I am sorry, but this is gross negligence, that the officer failed to exercise a degree of care handling the firearm.

leanne @ 9/3/2014 1:39 PM

First off this is a disgrace. A cop of all ppl who is trained in firearm safety didn't make sure his gun was unloaded?? Seriously!! Its common sense if you know what you are doing. ALWAYS CLEAR THE FIREARM!! And I am under the impression that since he supposedly cooperated and is distraught that he got away with taking the life of his wife and unborn child... and is still on the force right?

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