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Investigation Into Fresno County Deputy Sheriff's Death Complete

Fresno County Sheriff
Rod Lucas

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office has completed its investigation into the deadly shooting of a sheriff’s deputy late last year. The Sheriff still believes the shooting was an accident.

Sergeant Rod Lucas was shot and killed at a department satellite office near the Fresno airport in early November.

Sheriff Margaret Mims says that Lucas and another deputy were discussing how they carried their backup weapons when the other deputy’s gun accidentally discharged and fatally shot Lucas in the chest. The weapon had what is known as a ‘trigger safety’ which enables the gun to fire simply by pulling the trigger. The investigators concluded the deputy accidentally pulled the trigger while pointing the gun at Lucas.

“I won’t say it’s an easy thing to happen but there is a motion that’s not required if there is an external safety. We have no plans to change weapons. This is a case of simply getting back to basics about how to safely handle a weapon,” Mims says.

The other deputy, who has not been named, remains on paid administrative leave.

The case has been forward to the Fresno County District Attorney, but Mims does not expect charges to be filed.

The weapon was the deputy’s backup gun, and not department issued, which is allowed. Mims says this is the first time that they have had an accidental shooting with this weapon which has been approved for use for three years. Mims does not expect any policy changes as a result of the death.

Lucas is the 12th Deputy to be killed in the line of duty in the department’s history.

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.