Eleven police officers in Prince George’s County have been suspended after a gun was unintentionally fired at a holiday party over the weekend and two officers were injured.
Several off-duty officers were at a home in Brandywine, Md., on Saturday evening when a privately owned handgun was discharged, according to Prince George’s police.
The officers, who were suspended with pay, include members of the bureau of patrol — including officers who are part of the emergency services team that is essentially a SWAT team — and the bureau of investigations, said Jennifer Donelan, a county police spokeswoman.
At the party, the weapon fired once, with a bullet injuring one officer in the hand and hitting a second by ricochet, police said Monday.
The officers were taken to hospitals by helicopter, treated and released early Sunday, police said.
Police investigators responded to the scene that night and are reviewing the circumstances behind the shooting.
“We want to get to the bottom of why that gun went off, and so, anybody who was in the house at the time of that happening, they’ve been suspended and now they’re being investigated by our internal affairs,” Donelan said.
She did not offer details about events leading up to the shooting, saying that the circumstances around why the gun was unintentionally fired were under investigation but that it did not appear anything “sinister” had occurred before the shooting. The gun was owned by one of the off-duty officers at the party, she said.
Investigators will determine whether alcohol played role, she said. “It was a holiday party,” Donelan said. “I’m not going to be naive and assume that there wasn’t, but . . . whether or not alcohol was involved is definitely part of that investigation.”
She would not say whether the home where the incident occurred was owned by a police officer or whether there were civilians at the party.
“We’re handling this investigation as quickly as possible so if there are people who need to get back on the street, we’ll get them back on the street,” Donelan said. “Safety in Prince George’s County has not been compromised.”