Police Firearms Training Ended in Tragedy

     PHILADELPHIA (CN) – A firearms instructor who ducked manslaughter charges after accidentally killing a state trooper faces civil claims from the officer’s family.
     Joan Kedra filed the federal complaint against Richard Schroeter on Friday, nearly one year after Schroeter failed to perform a routine safety check during a firearms-instruction course in Montgomery County and accidentally killed her 26-year-old son, David.
     Both men were troopers with the Pennsylvania state police at the time of the fatal Sept. 30 firearms course.
     Schroeter retired from the force and pleaded guilty this past May to five counts of reckless endangerment in connection to Kedra’s death.
     Media reports indicate that Kedra’s family openly criticized prosecutors for not charging Schroeter with manslaughter. The Royersford man, now 44, was sentenced last month to two weeks in jail and 18 months of house arrest.
     After the Aug. 28 sentencing hearing concluded, David’s sister, Christine, yelled at the prosecutor outside the courtroom. “Two weeks?” she said, according to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer. “My brother’s life is worth two weeks?”
     Schroeter, had apologized to Kedra’s family at the hearing.
     “I wish I could trade places with him,” he said, the Inquirer reported.
     Kedra’s family now accuses Schroeter of violating “several critical firearms safety rules,” including pointing the gun away from others and always treating a firearm as if it were loaded.
     Schroeter had been showing the trooper how to pull the hammer back on the gun, which still had one bullet left in its chamber, when he accidentally fired the weapon, striking David in the abdomen. David died later that night.
     Kedra’s mother seeks exemplary damages for negligence and violations of due process. She is represented by Gerald Williams of Williams Cuker.

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