Footage of Ex-Cop Shooting Finger Off Goes Viral

Footage of a former Kentucky police officer shooting off his own finger has gone viral.

The surveillance video shows 58-year-old Darrell Smith examining a .380 caliber Sig Sauer ‘Copperhead’ at Barren Outdoors gun store in Glasgow back in March of 2014.

It appears that neither Smith nor the clerk behind the counter checked to see if the firearm was loaded. Smith pulls the trigger on the loaded firearm, blowing off his index finger and severely damaging his middle finger.

Smith is now suing the gun store, claiming that he has “not gotten any relief since the incident.”

“He’s permanently disfigured, he went through a lot of pain and suffering,” Alan Simpson, Smith’s attorney, told WKYT.

“He’s gone through several surgeries. He’s got a lot of medical bills that have to be paid. It ended his career and he’s going to have a lot of lost income,” Simpson continued.

Following the shooting, Smith was forced to retire from the Glasgow Police Department, where he had worked for 30 years.

From your perspective, who’s at fault? The gun store? Officer Smith? Both?

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 40 comments… add one }
  • Mark Dorsey March 24, 2016, 3:03 pm

    Saw an auto 380 that had a round in the chamber once that had failed to fire, the round had not been extracted, sat in the gun for 10 plus years, upon inspection “CLOSE”INSPECTION” I found the round so black that it was hard to see, if anyone had pulled the trigger , boom.3 inspections for me always.The cop is the real dumb ass, what were his fingers doing in front of the muzzle.

  • Jim March 12, 2016, 3:22 pm

    While both men screwed up, I think the clerk bears most of the blame. A clerk in a firearms dept of a sporting goods store or a gun shop should assume that the customer he’s handing a gun to is inexperienced. As many times as I’ve seen customers aim pistols directly at the clerk(s) behind the counter, only an idiot wouldn’t clear it before handing it over to one.

  • Paul January 28, 2015, 10:24 am

    How stupid can you get? I would be ashamed to sue if I were in his shoes for sure, he should put the blame where it belongs. If you look at the video it is a miracle that did not shoot the customer next to him, it was pointing in his direction. We all make mistakes and this was a combo of many mistakes by both parties. But being an officer for so many years I would expect more from him.

  • -------------->BY THE WAY January 22, 2015, 12:52 pm

    Unless some of you are going to try to be more safe,
    NOTHING GOOD will ever come of S.H. BLANNELBERRY putting this out there.

    I ask this of him often, and I’ll do it again; Unless your trying to start a fight or make firearms owners, police, and dealers look bad, please think twice before showing or posting anti-gun baiting videos and articles.
    We’re all worse off for seeing this.

  • Jeff January 21, 2015, 11:43 am

    Easy answer, both. No matter what, every weapon you pick up or are handed must be cleared, no excuse.
    That being said, I went to a local pawn shop to look around. They had a nice model 1860 black powder pistol. When I asked to see it, I was warned that it was loaded and unsafe, so point it into a safe direction. I picked it up off the counter and sure as God makes little green apples, it was loaded in all cylinders. Fortunately for them, there weren’t any caps installed. They didn’t know how to clear it so I pulled the cylinder out (took about 2 seconds) and showed them it was now semi-safe. I ended up buying it ’cause it appeared to have been loaded once and never fired. I still scratch my head wondering what the were thinking, taking in a loaded black powder revolver. Oh well, I got it for a really nice price.

  • Bill Richardson January 21, 2015, 10:52 am

    In any automatic that I have ever fired there is a noticeable difference between racking the slide with an empty magazine and racking a round. The feel and sound are different across the board. Now I have not fired every handgun out there, but I have fired my fair share and this has been the case every time. However, that is still no substitute for safe gun handling procedures. Especially for a LEO.

  • john swift January 20, 2015, 6:22 pm

    The gun shop clerk should have ensured that the gun was not loaded before handing it to a customer. That was negligent on their part. But the customer was a cop. He should be much more familiar with the use of guns and gun safety than the average Joe. I think that any judge or jury will hold the cop to a much higher standard regarding the handling of guns. The stupid cop should not get a penny in damages.

    • Fed Up October 21, 2017, 12:35 pm


  • Frank January 20, 2015, 12:19 pm

    It may be 50/50 on blame but I bet the Cop get his money. Any takers?

    • john swift January 20, 2015, 6:24 pm

      He probably will, but the dumb ass shouldn’t

  • pete rogerson January 20, 2015, 12:06 pm

    It’s very simple. Always assume it’s loaded until YOU see it’s safe. If you have to pull the trigger don’t point it at yourself or others, ever.

  • rufus15 January 20, 2015, 12:04 pm

    Hate to state the obvious, but this clearly shows two stupid people at work here. It’s a given that when handing a weapon to anyone magazine is dropped and slide to the rear. And for a veteran to accept it any other way is just plain dumb. Not to mention he didn’t do it either. This is own fault and that guy to his left is very lucky as well.

  • Russ January 20, 2015, 3:41 am

    Racking the slide of a mag-in gun, of coarse. loads it.
    One more rack would have proved it’s status. (what a shame)
    WTF! That was disturbing lameness, with what could have had far more potentially disastrous results.
    The gun shop’s going down big time for superior negligence in a lawsuit, and has no recourse against stupidity.
    The cop will live with the constant reminder of that mistake.
    Darrell, or “9 finger Smith” will never do that again.
    I bet he’s the safest cop around now.

  • Sean January 20, 2015, 2:06 am

    HE racks it…then pulls the trigger WHILE his fingers are in front of the barrel-what are the BASIC safety rules about guns??? Never point at ANYTHING you don’t want to destroy!!! His fault… When he racked it he did not see the round?
    But who keeps a loaded gun in the CASE??? Weird…but lawsuit? Nah…equal blame..

  • Winston January 19, 2015, 6:01 pm

    Both are at fault, but the clerk should have removed the magazine; cleared the action; then placed the weapon on the counter with the magazine removed on the counter. That would have prevented any problems. The customer- especially a cop- should have removed the magazine, and then cleared the action if the clerk did not. I would not go to the range with either of those two clowns, but careless people are everywhere.

    • Joe January 20, 2015, 1:35 am

      Exactly my thoughts

  • RugerNiner January 19, 2015, 4:17 pm

    50 – 50

  • Tom McMurray January 19, 2015, 3:49 pm

    The clerk is ultimately to blame unless the store didn’t train him properly. As a 40 year military, NRA Police, and Concealed instructor, this is unfathomable. 1. All weapons are loaded. You point in a safe direction and lock the slide back (if it does), remove the magazine then look into the chamber to make sure a round isn’t left in the chamber. The gun is then handed to the other person grip first , open slide so he is looking down into the chamber. 2. The officer should then verify the gun is empty by doing the same as the clerk did. Now it’s his responsibility. It should have been pointed in a safe direction. He doesn’t do the checks. He racks the slide. Apparently there is no round in the chamber or he would have dumped it. So he loaded the gun when he racked it. And even in the store you never pull the trigger without the owner permission. He’s lucky he didn’t shoot another customer. This was a cluster#### from the beginning!

  • Nick January 19, 2015, 1:52 pm

    The gunstore and the clerk screwed up as previously stated. They will very likely end up paying a significant settlement in this case.

    On the other hand, I don’t have much sympathy for someone who has carried a gun professionally on the public’s dime and is apparently so clueless about the four fundamental rules of firearm safety:

    1) There is NO SUCH THING as an unloaded gun. You ALWAYS treat every gun as if it is loaded.
    2) Never allow the muzzle to cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
    3) When handing a firearm, the trigger finger is off the trigger and glued to the frame unless / until three conditions are met:
    a) You are legally and morally justified in firing the weapon (or dry firing it).
    b) Your target is safe and available.
    c) You have made a conscious decision to fire (or dry fire).
    4) Always be aware of your foreground and background.

    It looked from the video like he was pointing the pistol in the general direction of one of the other patrons as well.

    I am sorry that he was injured, and I agree that the gunshop / clerk screwed up, but what he did to himself was so full of fail that it is hard to support his effort to blame someone else.

  • ch January 19, 2015, 1:22 pm

    Do you agree that he deserves less (if anything) than someone that has not had at least 30 years (year after year, if not month after month) of firearms safety training?

  • brian January 19, 2015, 11:57 am

    I am not suprised, I often am amazed of the foolhardy behaviour of some of the customers and store personal at our local big box Outdoors retailer when they are shopping, selling and transacting a firearms deal. Appearently it is no big deal to sight down a rifle or through a scope right down a shopping aisle or out towards the front window of the store at patrons and vehicles in the parking lot. Certainly a head “Turner” , when you view that this going on in front of the certifying instructor that is administering a California mandated safety test for new gun purchases. This Outdoorsmens retailer and their sales to the uneducated masses here in Southern California honestly makes me wonder if maybe the gungrabbers might have an valid argument, dumbasses maybe shouldnt be allowed to bear arms or handle guns in any way. Mostly, I am dissapointed that I never spoke up louder and confronted those jerks at this retailer. I have witnessed enough times to find it upsetting enough to no longer shop there.

    • Doc Loch January 20, 2015, 2:22 pm

      I do agree that fools should not posess firearms. I do want to point out, in case we all are thinking it in this case of blatant disregard for safety negligent thought processes, that we should not be toying with the idea of passing a law, or that laws can in anyway mitigate risk. What would the penalty of a law or the requirement of a law be? Isn’t there already a law for this that says: If you point a weapon at yourself and pull the trigger you have a real risk of blowing your finger off? That is a pretty specific law. The natural law says: Thou shalt not do this and the consequences of it are you get your finger excised. Now if we were to write another law to put on top of or in front of that law. How could we make it anymore likely to deter or improve behavior (I hope that is the purpose of laws)? I find it interesting that we always think a rule can change behavior when there are already higher consequences naturally and even more immediately. Here is an interesting link that shows both the problems and the solutions regarding our “civilized society” and rules.

  • Justin Davis January 19, 2015, 11:55 am

    1. Always treat all guns as if loaded
    2. Keep your finger off trigger until decsion to shoot has been made
    3. Never point gun at anything you dont want to destroy
    4. Know you r target and whats beyond

    The cop broke the first three rules of gun safety as offiver he should know better he is as much a danger as the gun shop who displays loaded guns a lot of negligence went on here but end of the day the cop shot himself, he didnt check condition of gun and gun shop is negligent for handing loaded weapon to customer so much wrong here.

  • Bob L January 19, 2015, 11:31 am

    This is something that should have never even coming close to happening. Let me just ask a few things. 1) It’s hard to believe that the original gun owner never checked the gun, 2) When the gun was check in, Nobody ever checked the gun? 3) The Sales agent didn’t check the gun by racking it and removeing the magazine before giving it to the customer. It was like everything was done wrong right from the from the start. With the surveillance tape that they aloud to be posted they will be found GUILTY right from the start!

  • Cea January 19, 2015, 11:21 am

    Who points a gun at any part of themselves, and pulls the trigger???
    If you do, you get what you deserve!
    Yes, the store, and the clerk are also at fault. But it still comes down to the person pulling the trigger.
    Who reading this article, would point a gun (even an unloaded one) at themselves and pull the trigger?

  • Mike January 19, 2015, 9:32 am

    Did he actually rack that gun at video time frame :44 ?

    He was working some part of the slide at that point.

    Agreed with most here, both parties are at fault. While I believe that with gun ownership or handling YOU nobody else is responsible for your safety and the safety of others while YOU have a firearm in your hands…..
    Like the other commentor pointed out, it is a completely reasonable expectation that the store carry only unloaded firearms in their F**king display case!! Come on! For the love of God!

    I feel like if I took a tour of a Nazi war museum gas chamber that its pretty reasonable there is no danger that the gas might suddenly come back on.Would I be expected to go check the gas pipeline leading into the place?! Whats a reasonable fear, at any given point?

    Ultimately, he Does have the Right to sue and Win! Because it is a completely reasonable expectation to buyers entering an establishment like that, that the sellers of these tools have them in the proper condition for DISPLAY!
    Imagine a complete newbie non-gun owner who walks in with his son to look and touch guns to satisfy the boys curiosity. Now what? This non-firearms owner who knows Nothing about gun safety laws is expected to do the right thing?
    Or worse yet even the young boy?
    I dont think so.

    The Gun Store owes massive liability from their lack of safety precautions.

    • Calvin Grimalkin January 20, 2015, 7:34 am

      Looks like he cocked the hammer, not racked the slide.

    • Calvin Grimalkin January 20, 2015, 7:53 am

      unfortunately, policemen are not necessarily more knowledgeable or careful about firearms than your average citizen. Many are not gun enthusiasts, and only actually fire a gun during their annual qualification. A lot of policeman, likewise, are not knowledgeable about actual laws. This is not to trash law enforcement, as there are many good professional officers, but only to point out that they are first and foremost human beings, with all of the foibles of being a human being.

      Likewise, many gun store salesmen are not necessarily more knowledgeable or careful about firearms than your average citizen either. I have heard more incorrect information about firearms from some gun store employees than I care to remember, mostly in big box stores, but also some mom and pop stores.

  • craigm January 19, 2015, 9:02 am

    If you accept a firearm from that point onward you, and only you, are completely are responsible for it. He even swept other patrons of the store! He broke all three rules, the only way a negligent discharge (ND) can happen. He should consider himself lucky that he didn’t injure anyone else.

  • John January 19, 2015, 8:24 am

    Both are to blame. First rule of gun safety is: all firearms are loaded until you clear them. No exceptions. This unfortunate incident exemplifies the term casual indifference.

  • Mike January 19, 2015, 8:17 am

    All I can say is sue them right out of business…!!! Wow….

    • Dale January 19, 2015, 7:36 pm

      Are you kidding?! Yes the clerk was negligent in NOT dropping the magazine and checking the chamber BEFORE handing the pistol to the cop/customer. But what kind of IDIOT racks the slide, and then pulls the trigger WITH HIS OWN HAND IN FRONT OF THE MUZZLE? Plus – he swept/flagged other patrons with the gun BEFORE he pulled the trigger! They are BOTH at fault, but the majority of the responsibility resides with the COP/CUSTOMER who should ALWAYS clear the gun BEFORE doing anything like dry-firing!

  • Mike January 19, 2015, 7:44 am

    Thats the first time I ever felt sorry for a cop!

    • Gothor January 19, 2015, 9:26 am

      To Mike: Really Mike? Yes, this guy was dumber than a box of rocks, but if it wasn’t for our law enforcement personnel throughout America, this country would devolve into a state of lawlessness and thuggery. There are always a few bad apples in the cart of any profession, but for the most part, the majority of cops play an invaluable role in keeping our society and our homeland safe.

      • Me January 19, 2015, 2:30 pm

        We already have thuggery, only these thugs have a badge and the “law” Wake up!

  • doug diamond January 19, 2015, 5:21 am

    Plenty of blame to spread down the line….. Dumb, dumber and dumbest .bw

  • doug diamond January 19, 2015, 5:21 am

    Plenty of blame to spread down the line….. Dumb, dumber and dumbest .bw

  • John January 16, 2015, 11:47 pm

    Gross negligence on behalf of the gun shop, but both are at fault IMO. Trust but verify any gun handed to you. Always. Fortunate that it was a finger loss and not a life.

  • shoobear January 16, 2015, 11:22 pm

    They both share the blame.

    First, it’s completely outrageous that a gun shop had a loaded firearm in inventory in the case. There is a reasonable expectation that ALL guns displayed for sale have been thoroughly checked. When used inventory is purchased, it should be completely inspected during the purchasing process and again when logged into inventory. NO EXCUSES THERE. Additionally, the gun store clerk was highly remiss in not dropping the magazine, racking the slide and checking the chamber BEFORE handing the firearm to the client. This was drilled into me over and over from childhood on, never hand a firearm to someone without opening the action and never accept a handgun without first confirming it’s condition and rechecking it, all while it is pointing in a safe direction. At my local gun shop, these rules are followed religiously.

    As an NRA Certified instructor, we teach keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and keeping your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. This cop broke both of these rules. He also broke the rule of accepting a firearm without checking it himself to confirm its status. As an officer of the law, he has an even higher responsibility to know and follow all the basics of firearms safety. I wish him well in his healing and recovery, but he should be too embarrassed to sue since he bears at least half the blame. Actually, as I think about this, it was he pulled the trigger on a firearm that he did not personally check, so he bears more than half the blame. You can NEVER afford to relax your safety standards with firearms.

    • James Anderson January 21, 2015, 4:40 pm

      Both, the store for lack of common sense as to inspect a weapon taken into it’s inventory. The cop for ignorance. Man works as a policeman for 30 years and doesn’t remove the mag and inspects a weapon he is ignorant of! Sorry for his injuries but stupid is as stupid does!

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