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Florida Deputy Charged With Shooting Daughter While Trying To Clean AR-15 After Drinking

Port St. Lucie, FL – A St. Lucie County deputy was arrested for aggravated child abuse last week after an AR-15 he was cleaning inadvertently discharged and shot his young daughter in the abdomen.

St. Lucie County Deputy Daniel Allan Weber, who was allegedly intoxicated during the shooting, was placed on administrative leave without pay after his arrest, the Treasure Coast News reported.

The incident occurred shortly after 3 p.m. on Nov. 23 at a residence on Lakehurst Drive, according to WPTV.

Deputy Weber later told Port St. Lucie Police Department (PSLPD) officers that he was going to show his 18-year-old son how to clean his personal AR-15 rifle, so he took it out and removed the magazine, then placed it on a “TV tray” in the living room, detectives said.

He told investigators that he had experience handling a wide variety of types and calibers of firearms over the years and that he “believed the firearm to be empty,” but allegedly admitted that the rifle’s safety was not engaged when he set it down on the tray to work on it, WPTV reported.

As the off-duty deputy sat down on a nearby couch, the tray fell forward and the gun fell to the ground, investigators said.

Deputy Weber said the rifle discharged when it hit the floor, firing a round that struck his daughter in her “left hip/lower abdomen,” according to police.

The deputy immediately applied pressure to his daughter’s wound and called 911, WPTV reported.

The girl was transported to a local hospital, where she underwent emergency surgery, according to WPBF.

The PSLPD said she was continuing to recover at the hospital on Wednesday, WPTV reported.

Police said they noticed the odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from Deputy Weber when they arrived at the home the day of the shooting.

Deputy Weber’s son allegedly told investigators that his father “drinks every day,” generally consuming “a few beers and a few mixed drinks before work, and then maybe a couple more on his days off,” according to the arrest report.

He further alleged his father had begun drinking at about noon on the day of the shooting, and estimated he had “two beers and like three mixed drinks,” police said.

Deputy Weber’s son said the mixed drinks consisted of lemonade and whiskey mixed in a large Yeti cup, WPTV reported.

Investigators said the off-duty deputy admitted to having consumed “approximately six beers” that day.

Deputy Weber was ultimately arrested on charges of aggravated child abuse, culpable negligence, and using a firearm under the influence of alcoholic beverages, the Treasure Coast News reported.

“Mr. Weber failed to provide appropriate supervision for several minor children by consuming several alcoholic beverages and making the decision to willfully handle a large-caliber firearm,” his arrest affidavit read. “Mr. Weber’s decision to do so led to the victim suffering great bodily injury and suffering a gunshot wound from a high-caliber firearm, requiring immediate surgery and extensive care.”

The PSLPD said Deputy Weber’s actions were “extremely negligent” and that he “irresponsibly handled” the rifle prior to the shooting, WPTV reported.

Deputy Weber posted a $50,000 bond and was released from the St. Lucie County Jail on Nov. 24, according to the Treasure Coast News.

He has since pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara said Deputy Weber was hired by the sheriff’s office in August, the Treasure Coast News reported.

He was placed on administrative leave without pay in the wake of the shooting, Sheriff Mascara confirmed.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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