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Officer's gun goes off by accident at Highland High

Highland High School. (March 5, 2013)

Highland High School. (March 5, 2013) Photo Credit: Meghan Murphy

A school resource officer accidentally fired his gun at Highland High School on Tuesday afternoon, the school district and police said.

The officer, Sean McCutcheon of the Lloyd Police Department, was walking a hallway in the high school when his gun went off at 1:38 p.m., the Highland Central School District said.

"No students or staff were in the area when the weapon discharged and no one was injured as a result of this accidental discharge," the district wrote in a statement posted Tuesday afternoon.

Students were in class at the time. Because the incident was reported to the district's main office immediately, and because it was clear there was no danger to students, the school was not put in lockdown, Superintendent Deborah Haab said.

Students were dismissed at the normal time and an automated phone message went out to parents alerting them to the incident, Haab said.

McCutcheon "was shaken up" after the incident, Lloyd Lt. James Janso said. Detectives were interviewing him Tuesday afternoon, and Janso said they planned a thorough investigation.

That involves talking to teachers and students as well as pulling footage from surveillance cameras in the area. Although McCutcheon was on a routine patrol through the school and the hallway was empty when his gun fired, some teachers and students heard the gun go off, Janso said.

The gun fired down toward the floor, school officials said. Janso declined to say what kind of service weapon his department uses beyond acknowledging each officer carries a standard handgun.

McCutcheon has been with the Lloyd Police Department for about a year; before that, Janso said, McCutcheon was a police officer in another town and retired after more than 20 years on the job. Janso said he did not know where McCutcheon previously served as a police officer. New York State records do not list McCutcheon on the state payroll.

McCutcheon is the only school resource officer in the Highland School District. Administrators have talked about adding more school resource officers, particularly since the Newtown, Conn., mass shooting in December, but that decision has been stalled as the Board of Education works out budget concerns.

Police weren't sure when they'd have all the facts and said they were still sorting out details.

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