Taylor puts auxiliary police program on hold after near-tragic weapons drill in park

April 26, 2022, 6:06 PM

Taylor's auxiliary police corps of nearly 20 volunteers is suspended, Mayor Tim Woolley announces Tuesday afternoon.

After a Michigan State Police investigation of an accidental shooting Sunday, he adds in a statement, "the city will evaluate the findings and implement corrective measures. It goes without saying that my administration, Taylor Police and the auxiliary are taking this incident extremely seriously."

Wooley expressed compassion for "the victim of the shooting and his family." (Details below.)

In addition to suspending the volunteer program, Taylor postponed a final exam this for the latest class of auxiliary trainees and delayed its graduation ceremony this Friday. "A chaplain is counseling members of the Auxiliary who might be under emotional duress due to this incident," the mayor's announcement adds.

Original article, Friday morning:

Ben Shotts recalls the moment he was shot during gun training for auxiliary police civilians in Taylor: "I screamed at him, 'Why the hell did you not check your weapon?'" the injured civilian tells WXYZ from his hospital bed after surgery.

Shotts, a guitarist-singer and construction worker, was portraying a suspect during a "vehicle take-down" exercise Sunday afternoon in Heritage Park -- a volunteer role he had filled before. His brother, an auxiliary sergeant with the civil defense unit, was present.

Ben Shotts: "You're supposed to know what you have in your hand." (Photo: Facebook video/Steven Upshur)

A .40-caliber hollowpoint bullet still is in the victim's pelvis, according to the station

"Luckily, God really had his hand on me. And none of my organs were struck," he said. ...

"You're supposed to know what you have in your hand," said Shotts, who thinks the auxiliary officer failed to remember that he still had live rounds in his gun. "Unfortunately, this particular individual was just super-negligent."

Michigan State Police detectives are investigating.

The auxiliary unit helps the Downriver city's police force  during emergencies, large events, shopping center anti-crime programs and property checks. "Auxiliary officers carry their own personal firearm and must have a concealed pistol license," according to WXYZ.

Fox 2 News coverage:

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