A Michigan man who volunteered his time to play the bad guy in a police training exercise ended up shot in the abdomen by an auxiliary police cadet Sunday afternoon.
Ben Shotts is recovering at a local hospital as Michigan State Police investigate the incident.
The man who shot him was training to become an auxiliary police officer for the Taylor Police Department in southern Michigan. Auxiliary police officers are volunteers who serve as backups to certified police officers in emergency situations, according to the agency’s website. The program created in 1962 has been suspended in the wake of Sunday’s shooting.
The name of the cadet who fired the shot has not been released.
The incident took place in Hamilton Park in Taylor, a community park open to the public that includes trails, picnic tables, baseball and soccer fields and a petting zoo.
Participants in the training exercise were supposed to either use fake orange guns or at least ensure real guns are cleared by removing every bullet. That did not happen in this case.
Shotts told local media that he was playing the bad guy in a police ambush scenario but the exercise had already ended when he was shot.
“And the scenario was over, we were all kind of smiling and laughing because he learned, ‘Wow I almost got killed, we’ve got to get it together.’ and I turned around and I just heard boom,” Shotts told Fox 2 Detroit.
“And I realized, ‘Oh my God: the cadet that was backing him up in this scenario, just shot me.’”
The incident is reminiscent of an incident that took place in Florida in 2016 in which Punta Gorda police officer Lee Coel shot and killed a woman named Mary Knowlton, a 73-year-old retired librarian who enrolled in the citizen police academy to show her support for police.
Coel was charged with felony manslaughter with a gun and was sentenced to 10 years probation with no jail time. Knowlton’s family ended up receiving a $2 million settlement.
Shotts said he plans on filing a lawsuit but first needs to raise money for medical expenses which is why his fiancee has launched a fund raiser on Go Fund Me. Watch his interview with local media below.
HEYA CARLOS MILLER, Mr.:
A reminder from an old friend, oh ya right, friend. I am still out here, and am still waiting for my PINAC ID from you, you said now how many years ago that I would get it? Perhaps you just forgot, so I am now sending this reminder. I see that Eric got his now, many years back, and I still dont have mine. SO then, did you make it and just not get it to me yet, is that it? have a nice day! [and oh ya, chaching for that soon to be cop that got shot, its a big pay day for him, and his family……]