Police: Detective’s weapon fired when putting gun away at St. John’s Prep ‘swatting’ incident

DANVERS, Mass. — New details were released days after a massive emergency response at St. John’s Prep school when an officer’s gun accidentally fired while investigating a ‘swatting’ call.

The Danvers Police Emergency Center received a report on Monday afternoon that an individual in a bathroom on the St. John’s Prep campus possessed a long gun and intended to harm students.

The first arriving officers, consisting of two School Resource Officers and Detective Christopher Gaffney, an 11-year veteran of the Danvers Police Department, responded to the first-floor men’s bathroom in Benjamin Hall for the ‘swatting’ call.

The town of Danvers confirmed on Thursday that Detective Gaffney accidentally fired his gun at the floor while trying to holster his weapon.

“The officer reported that as he did, his index finger was extended along the side of the barrel, which is consistent with his training, and that a secondary piece of equipment interfered with the holstering process, resulting in a single shot being discharged and striking the bathroom tile floor next to the officer’s foot,” town officials said.

According to officials, Detective Gaffney has not been placed on leave but has taken a few days off.

There were no students or faculty in or around the area of the bathroom at the time of the discharge. None of the officers sustained any injuries.

“We recognize that Monday’s events at St. John’s Prep caused a significant amount of fear and angst for not only those present at the Prep that day, but also to our broader community. We are confident that we can take the lessons learned from these events and work together to effect change that will further ensure the safety of our schools and community. We thank you for your continued support,” said town officials.

Danvers Police continues to investigate this incident thoroughly and is awaiting additional documentation from the State Police Ballistics Unit to supplement both the incident report filed by the officer as well as an internal review by the Operations Captain.

Detective Gaffney has been assigned to the Criminal Investigation division since September 2019.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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