The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police released a statement on March 16, 2011 in reference to the tragic death of Ofc. Fred Thornton on February 25,2011. Thornton was killed by a flashbang following a SWAT call.
The press release stated, “there are no reasons to believe or evidence to suggest the device safety features failed or that a malfunction caused the device to be activated.”
The distraction device was a Defense Technologies Def-Tec 25 FSDD.
During the night of the incident, Thornton, a twenty-three year SWAT veteran, was designated to throw a flashbang during the warrant service if needed. He did not throw the device, but had apparently pulled the pin in preparation.
The investigation revealed he partially re-inserted a pin to deactivate the device at the scene. “Reinsertion of a pin is not an authorized technique for attempting to render the non-reloadable Def-Tec25 FSDD stable,” the report stated.
Thornton was apparently trying to fully insert a pin to deactivate the device when it exploded in his garage, killing him.
According to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police procedures, the flashbang should be expended by detonation if the pin is pulled. Re-insertion of a pin is not authorized, according to the department.
As I stated in the previous article, we must all use our SWAT gear with great care.