Aug 02, 2014 News
A Board of Inquiry has recommended that disciplinary action be taken against army Lieutenant Othneil Hope for his accidental shooting of recruit Vernon Harding at Base Tacama, Berbice, last May.
Kaieteur News understands that this disciplinary action will be taken when Hope returns from leave. Investigators concluded that the 23-year-old training officer had breached Force policies, including those related to carrying a service pistol and its handling in the presence of recruits.
Harding was shot in the stomach and shoulder on May 18 after Lieutenant Hope accidentally discharged a handgun that he had taken into a barrack room at Base Tacama, Berbice.
Lieutenant Hope also accidentally shot himself in the leg.
Doctors were forced to remove one of Harding’s kidneys, but are apprehensive about removing a warhead that remains lodged near his spine for fear of leaving him paralysed.
He has since been discharged from hospital and is at present on leave.
Kaieteur news understands that Harding told investigators that he was in the barrack room when Lieutenant Hope cocked his handgun and rubbed the muzzle against his (the Lieutenant’s) chin. Shortly after, the recruit reportedly heard a gunshot and heard Hope cry out that he had been shot, while pleading for the other ranks to call a medic.
Harding reportedly told investigators that all the ranks fled from the barrack room on hearing the shot. Harding, who was in bed, was reportedly attempting to follow the others when he heard a second shot.
He then felt a pain in his stomach and shoulder and realised that he was bleeding.
According to sources, the recruit then ran outside and collapsed. The two wounded soldiers were flown to Georgetown and taken to the GPHC. Harding underwent emergency surgery and relatives said he was subsequently informed that doctors had removed one of his kidneys. The two ranks were subsequently transferred to a medical facility at Camp Ayanganna.
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