A veteran Maryland police officer who used his gun to try to smash a window wound up shooting an unarmed driver in a Montgomery County parking lot when the weapon accidentally went off, police officials said Tuesday.
The driver survived the Nov. 5 shooting.
The officer, Todd Archer, will not be criminally charged, according to authorities, but he remains under administrative investigation by the Montgomery County Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division.
Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger has reviewed the video. “I don’t believe the officer intended to shoot this man,” Manger told the Washington Post, but added that “a number of questions remain about what happened.”
The incident began with a 911 call to police at about 8:20 p.m. Nov. 5 from a motorist saying his car was being rammed in a parking lot by an SUV.
Police say Archer was the first officer to arrive at the lot. He saw a Cadillac Escalade driving up against the back of a Camry, the car described by the 29-year-old caller to 911. It appeared that the SUV driver thought the other car was blocking his exit from the parking lot, police officials said, when in reality the car was pinned against a curb.
Archer got out of his patrol car, approached the Escalade and drew his weapon, according to police accounts. It’s not clear how well Archer could see into the SUV or why he thought he needed to break the window.