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Shot 15 Times as ‘Training,’ Guard Says

SALT LAKE CITY (CN) - A state prison guard claims he was shot 15 times with a 9mm handgun at a "training exercise," including twice in the head, while wearing only a "consumer grade" paintball mask and vest. He says the shooting left him unconscious and bleeding from the head, and that the state ignored guidelines from the manufacturer of the "FX marking cartridges, which are advertised as being 'as real as you can get.'"

Bradley Robinson sued the State of Utah and the co-worker who allegedly shot him, Paul McGarry, in Salt Lake County Court.

Robinson claims the Utah Department of Corrections required Gunnison Prison employees to attend training exercise in March 2009.

"The exercise involved the use of 9mm simulated handguns shooting FX marking cartridges, which are advertised as being 'as real as you can get.' The manufacturer of the FX cartridges published guidelines for use, including, 'Users must wear approved FX protective gear (head, throat and groin protection). Full-body covering recommended.' The manufacturer warned, 'Improper use can cause serious injury or damage.'" (Parentheses in complaint.)

But Robinson, 54, says he and other guards were provided only with "consumer-grade paintball masks and vests" for protection.

"During the exercise, McGarry shot Robinson with a handgun twice - once on the forehead and once on the top of the head - at point-blank range," the complaint states. "He proceeded to shoot him 13 (thirteen) more times in the body at point-blank range."

Robinson says the supervisors made no attempt to stop McGarry from shooting him repeatedly, and claims that the final three shots fired hit him while he was unconscious.

Robinson says he has been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, hearing loss, partial retinal detachment, and lack of motor control, stability and balance as a result of the two shots to his head from within 3 feet. He says he has tried to continue working, but "his health care providers have advised him that continued work is exacerbating his conditions and is preventing him from recovering."

FX's cartridges are available in six colors and leave a detergent-based, water-soluble color mark when they strike.

Robinson demands punitive damage of more than $7.5 million for medical expenses, lost income and earning capacity. He is represented by Gregory Hawkins with Hawkins & Sorensen of Murray, Utah.

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