Thursday, February 20, 2003

Prank with gunshot gets two officers suspended

The Associated Press

CANTON, Ohio - Two Jackson Township police officers were suspended for a prank in which one shot a gun with blank rounds and the other pretended to be wounded, police said.

The prank scared department clerk Shelley Bender, who thought the .357-caliber handgun was real and that Sgt. Barry Lyons had been shot.

Lyons is serving an eight-day suspension for committing an unsafe act and dishonesty. Beginning Saturday, Patrolman Patrick Pileggi will serve a three-day suspension for committing an unsafe act.

Lyons denied the allegations, but investigating officer Lt. Chris Rudy found Lyons did not honestly answer questions about the Dec. 9 incident.

Rudy said Lyons called Bender into his office to ask about an accident report. Lyons then handed Pileggi a gun. Pileggi fired the gun, and both pretended it went off accidentally. Lyons fell back in his chair, pretending to be hurt.

Pileggi called the prank a bad decision. He said the prank is an ongoing one and that Lyons told him to play along.

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