The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) announced this week that one of its officers had died during a training accident involving an “accidental discharge.”
Whitney Cloud had only begun working for the FDC in June of this year, but she died of a gunshot wound during her training at Harry K. Singletary Training Academy at the Wakulla Correctional Institution in Crawfordville.
“We are absolutely devastated by the loss of Officer Whitney Cloud,” said Corrections Secretary Mark Inch in a Facebook post. “As a newly hired officer trainee, Officer Cloud vowed to make a difference in the lives of others and protect her community. We are immensely saddened by this unexpected tragedy.”
The agency has thus far offered little information about the incident and refused to provide additional detail when reached by GunsAmerica for comment.
“It appears she was injured by an accidental discharge during firearms training on August 26, 2021,” the department explains in the post. “No other staff were involved. She was transported to a nearby hospital where she later passed.”
The fact that “no other staff were involved” seems to indicate that Cloud somehow shot herself. But the department has not indicated that a faulty firearm was involved nor has it explained how an accident like this could take place in a controlled training environment.
One woman who claims to have been there said in a comment under the FDC’s post that Cloud’s death was “truly an accident”:
Another woman who claims to have been Cloud’s recruiter made a similar statement. “This tragic accident has tremendously impacted the firearm instructors who were present. They are all highly skilled. Unfortunately, this was an accident,” she says.
One commenter claims the accident was caused by a faulty firearm, while others respond that she is misinformed.
Another suggests that the firearms training at that facility was poorly handled. “That training was one of the most nerve racking [sic] experience [sic]. I had a person beside me look down the barrel of the pistol with both of his fingers on the trigger. Prayers for the family,” he writes.
GunsAmerica has reached out to all Facebook commenters for clarification but had not received responses by publication.
When reached for comment, FDC Press Secretary Paul Walker directed all questions to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), which is the lead investigative agency on this incident. The FDLE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.