Florida Corrections Officer Dies After ‘Accidental Discharge’ of Firearm

Corrections Officer Whitney Cloud died last week in what has been described as a training “accident.” (Photo: NY Daily News)

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.

SEE ALSO: Armed Citizen – ‘True Hero’ – Stops Cop Killer, Fatally Wounded By Police Accidentally

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.

SEE ALSO: Turkey Hunters, 20 and 7 Years Old, Shot in Accident by ‘Family Acquaintance’

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.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Ej harbet September 6, 2021, 8:19 pm

    How many of the 4 were broken.
    Usually takes 2

  • Roady September 6, 2021, 5:27 pm

    These have been reclassified by people who know “accidental discharge” is always negligence. The perpetrators had to disregard one or more of “the Canon Rules” of firearm safety . (Pun intended)

    There are as many as 5 or at the least 3. The First, which will ALWAYS prevent injury, is KEEP the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. This poor woman who shot herself, broke that rule. Whoever the “firearms instructors” were allowed that rule to be broken. (Probably more than once)

    They all allowed the second rule to be broken also, KEEP your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to fire. There is PLENTY of blame to go around & IT SHOULD NOT BE EXCUSED by labeling it an ACCIDENT!

    It is terrible when any good guy is killed or injured but it is a tragedy when it could have been prevented so easily. The NRA & other groups provide training for FREE. Safety is something that has to be taught & practiced over & over because overconfidence & inattention NEVER TAKE a holiday. Pray for the families & TAKE this opportunity to rededicate your commitment to safety. Everytime you hear of an accidental discharge, call it what it is & use it to keep safety at the forefront of firearms handling.

  • MARK S SMITH September 4, 2021, 4:57 pm

    ‘Accidental Discharge’ is a poor headline; “During Training” is more accurate and objective.
    Sometimes poop happens; excrement occurs.

  • jim September 3, 2021, 9:58 pm

    Walleye, while it is quite in vogue to use the term “negligent discharge”, and considered amateurish to use the term “accidental discharge”, you are inflating the meaning of “accident” a hundred times over. Unless this was intentional, which given the circumstances is outrageously unlikely, it was an accident. You need to understand that “accident” and “accidental discharge” have quite different meanings. Indeed….

    • Roady September 6, 2021, 5:52 pm

      Let’s look at the word “Accident”. One meaning is:
      “an unfortunate event resulting especially from carelessness or ignorance with lack of intention or necessity”

      law : an unexpected happening causing loss or injury which is not due to any fault or misconduct on the part of the person injured but for which legal relief may be sought.
      That statement prohibits the use of “Accident” by anyone who has fault or misconduct. That, sir, is why we call this a NEGLIGENT DISCHARGE not an accident. ANYONE who does NOT follow the rules of Firearm Safety IS at Fault & guilty of misconduct.

      That does not mean they should not be shown kindness nor empathy, neither does it mean they should be held blameless. We all make mistakes, which are the foundation of learning. If we make a mistake, with little or no cost to ourselves or others, it is a bargain & a gift of Grace from God. Most of the time our mistakes are costly so we must learn from them, ESPECIALLY if the cost is to another. Then, it is not just a loss to the perpetrator, it becomes an investment made by them in the lives of everyone that learns from it.

      Please do not rob them of that small dividend by calling it an accident to be quickly forgotten. That is the stuff wars are made of, my friend.

  • No Name Fool September 3, 2021, 8:42 pm

    Why are CO’s or potential CO’s training with handguns anyway? I could see rifle or shotgun training for someone to be on the wall or in a tower. Firearms are a big no no on the inside.

  • Danny D September 3, 2021, 7:49 pm

    Even a trained person can make a mistake but this story along with “Old Vet” comments demonstrate how badly qualified training (or demonstration of) should be a requirement for all weapons owners and operators. My state Ga has none. I wish all states were like Tennessee. It’s never unusual to see negligent handling at our ranges, much less private settings.

  • Be Stupid September 3, 2021, 4:38 pm

    Stupid shit gets stupid results

  • 2ADude September 3, 2021, 1:52 pm

    Someone in the comments thread on the Facebook post named Connor Holton wrote, “bullet flew in her shirt while she was shooting a pistol and used her dominant hand that she was holding the pistol with to move the bullet and shot her self in the head”

    Don’t know whether that’s true or not, but it’s certainly plausible. I wonder if we’ll ever hear the results of the investigation.

    • jim September 3, 2021, 9:51 pm

      “Connor” apparently does not know the difference between a bullet and an ejected case. Nonetheless, something like this is what I immediately expected. Likely, got distracted, turned gun toward herself without realizing it while she did something else, and pulled the trigger.

    • Ej harbet September 6, 2021, 8:24 pm

      Hot brass is a big distraction for sure but you have to expect it and not let it stop you from keeping the muzzle downrange.
      I got burned several times yesterday but still have the same number of holes God gave me. Of course if you’re new to it and they don’t teach you in the class then you might just hurt yourself or someone else.

  • Dr Motown September 3, 2021, 12:40 pm

    Most “accidents” are really negligence….RIP to the officer, whatever the cause was.

  • Kurt September 3, 2021, 10:05 am

    So…what kind of firearm was involved?

    • Yep yep September 4, 2021, 8:28 am

      Does it matter?🤦‍♂️ It was self inflicted.

  • Old Vet September 3, 2021, 8:21 am

    As a “victim” of three incidents involving firearms, I can tell you there are two causes. One of mine was a faulty firearm that cost me my vision in my left eye, while the second incident was negligence from a dropped firearm. I happened to be standing near the offending person and received the “benefit”. It took muscle mass, shattered the upper bone in my left arm. He was uninjured. The third and final incident was a hunting incident (negligence) where the other person failed to clear his shooting lane and peppered my brother-in-law and I with buckshot. We both sustained minor injuries in that one. Things can go wrong people, please know the rules of safety.

  • Keith McIntyre September 3, 2021, 7:25 am

    I’ve seen instructors shoot themselves or a student during training. All you can do is attempt to anticipate what might go wrong during training. Learn from these tragedies so they are not repeated. So sad for her and her family.

  • MB (the real MB) September 3, 2021, 5:26 am

    It’s almost never “accidental discharge”, but a negligent discharge. It happens, but 1 time out of 100,000 it might be the weapon’s fault. Sorry that she is dead., but please stop trying to make it sound like the gun “just went off” and decided to kill someone.

    • Walleye September 3, 2021, 7:59 am

      Gun journalists, above all others, should refrain from the sloppy misuse of the word “accident” when referring to shooting deaths where little of the facts are known.

      This death may very well have been negligence, and accident, or even a sucide or a homicide. Nobody with authority that knows is talking.

  • Richard September 3, 2021, 5:20 am

    A terrible accident, my condolences to her family.

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