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Accidental Weapon Discharge Kills Fresno Sheriff's Deputy

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR
Sheriff Margaret Mims

The Fresno County Sheriff is explaining in more detail the circumstances surrounding the apparently accidental fatal shooting of a deputy.


Sergeant Rod Lucas, a 20 year veteran of the department, was shot and killed by a fellow deputy at a satellite office near the airport yesterday.


Sheriff Margaret Mims says in a standard course of work the two deputies were discussing their weapons when Lucas was shot.


“The sergeant and one of the detectives were discussing their equipment. Specifically their backup weapons and how they carry them. The detective had his weapon out. During the discussion, the detective’s weapon discharged,” Mims says.


Lucas was shot in the chest and eventually died at the hospital. He was dressed in plain clothes and not wearing a bulletproof vest. She did not name the other deputy but says he has not yet been interviewed.


Mims says it is still not clear why the weapon discharged.


Lucas is a father of four and Mims says she spoke with his wife yesterday.


“And I asked her if she can send a message to the public and the sheriff’s office, what would she say? And she said simply ‘please pray for us’," Mims says.


Lucas is the 13th line of duty death at the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office and first since 2010.

Jeffrey Hess is a reporter and Morning Edition news host for Valley Public Radio. Jeffrey was born and raised in a small town in rural southeast Ohio. After graduating from Otterbein University in Columbus, Ohio with a communications degree, Jeffrey embarked on a radio career. After brief stops at stations in Ohio and Texas, and not so brief stops in Florida and Mississippi, Jeffrey and his new wife Shivon are happy to be part Valley Public Radio.