A key mistakenly placed in a holster released the safety and activated the trigger on a school resource officer's gun on Monday, causing the gun to accidentally discharge a bullet into a sidewalk at York Comprehensive High School, according to the York County Sheriff's Office.
The sheriff's office released details of its internal investigation on Friday afternoon at a news conference at the Moss Justice Center in York.
The resource officer, Deputy Dave Prescott, was on paid administrative on Monday as a result of the accident and was reassigned to other work duties the remainder of the week.
Prescott will return to work at the school on Tuesday.
He and three students who were walking nearby were not injured during the incident.
Prescott did experience some minor discomfort called "muzzle blast" on his leg when the gun fired, the sheriff's office said on Friday.
The department began its investigation immediately after Prescotts standard-issued Glock 22 gun accidentally fired an hour before the start of the school day on school grounds on Monday.
Prescott was reporting to the school at the time, where he is assigned as a school resource officer. Some schools in the county have designated officers from the sheriffs office who provide added security for the buildings and their grounds.
In a surveillance video from the school released on Friday, students can be seen walking near Prescott's police car, just before the gun went off.
The sheriff's office says Prescott first retrieved a gym bag from the passenger seat of his car before turning to walk towards the school.
In the video, the deputy can be seen placing the bag over his shoulder and closing the patrol car's door.
The accident happened just after Prescott places his hand near his gun, attempting to place his keys in an open pocket of his bag.
During the sheriff's office investigation, deputies found that Prescott was likely holding one of his keys between two fingers and mistakenly wedged the set of keys in his holster, not in his bag.
Prescott's holster is an older model with an area just large enough for an item to slip into and become lodged against a gun's trigger.
The sheriff's office says it is in the process of replacing a handful of holsters like Prescott's.
Prescott has already received a new holster and fewer than 10 remain in use with the sheriff's office.
Other training measures and reminders are underway for deputies to avoid similar accidents, the sheriff's office said on Friday.
When the incident happened, Prescott's gun was not malfunctioning, said Undersheriff Maj. Robert Hudgins.
The accidental firing was a "freak anomaly," he said.
The school district is eager for Prescott to return, Hudgins said, adding that he is "well-thought of at York Comprehensive High School and they miss (Prescott)."
At least one e-mail from a community member was sent to the sheriff's office and the school, he said, and all comments about the incident have been supportive and understanding that it was an accident.
The sheriff's office has received requests, including one from The Herald, for documents related to Prescott's disciplinary record and training.
Hudgins said the department is working on fulfilling those records requests.
Anna Douglas 803-329-4068