A Marion County, Tennessee, detective injured in an accidental shooting at the Marion County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday has been identified as Detective Beth Raulston Schindel, a longtime veteran of the department.
Marion County Sheriff Ronnie "Bo" Burnett confirmed her identity Thursday but said the name of the second detective, also a veteran and the one believed to be responsible for the accidental gunshot, is being withheld until the TBI concludes its interviews in a follow-up probe of the shooting.
Burnett said initial reports indicate the second detective dropped a magazine out of an AR-15 rifle while he was unloading it and was clearing the chamber when the weapon accidentally discharged Wednesday afternoon. The bullet hit Schindel in the leg, shattering her femur. She has already undergone one surgery.
"She'll possibly have another surgery today," Burnett said Thursday morning. The incident has shaken the small, close-knit department, he said.
Schindel's family and friends rallied around her on social media, including her daughter, Kristin Atkins, who called her mom a "fighter."
"Today I received the call that no one ever wants to receive. 'Your Mom has been involved in an accident. Get to the hospital as fast as you can.' Hundreds of different emotions ran all through me. I had never been so scared in my entire life. I cried the whole way to the hospital. Scared too [sic] death praying that my Momma was gonna be okay," Atkins posted on Facebook.
"God answered my prayers," the post continues. "Momma is going to be okay. For those of you that know Beth Raulston Schindel, you know that she is a fighter. She proved that when she kicked ovarian cancer's tail."
As word broke Wednesday of the accidental shooting, Chattanooga police cleared the way to Erlanger hospital for the ambulance that was carrying Schindel with an escort of her fellow officers from Marion County.
Burnett said Schindel and the detective who fired the shot had worked together "for the last five years," and that both were experienced officers.
Burnett said the other officer is shaken by the incident.
"You have to understand, these detectives worked in the same office together like brothers and sisters," Burnett said Wednesday, just a couple of hours after the incident. "He's pretty bad emotionally."
The TBI will report its findings to 12th Judicial District Attorney General Mike Taylor's office.
It is part of department protocol for the state agency to investigate shootings involving officers, district officials said.
Contact staff writer Ben Benton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.