Woman Hugs off-duty cop, killed when gun goes off

When a woman hugged a off duty police officer at a party, his .40 S&W M&P pistol discharged killing her.

Everyone involved seems to have a slightly different story. Detroit Free Press said (emphasis added) …

Police said that Miller hugged the officer — whose name has not been released — from behind as he was dancing, and the gun discharged.

However, McNair said she also was told her daughter “was being a little flirty” with the officer and the gun fired as they were in a face-to-face hug.

The weapon, a department-issued, 40-caliber Smith & Wesson semiautomatic pistol, was in a holster worn inside the officer’s waistband and was covered by his shirt, Goldpaugh said.

As jdun1911 said to me “Lots of WTF”.

This story is a week old, but I managed to miss it when it broke last week.

[ Many thanks to jdun1911 for emailing me the link. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Beyond a reasonable doubt, the laws of physics say that this cop is a murderer. By his own confession.

    He already admits it’s his firearm that killed her. Based on the weapon type and the fact that she’s dead from a mortal wound to the heart, it’s at least 2nd degree.

    If he was truthful about what happened, then maybe manslaughter.

    • Jeff

      @PigSnowball, His confession?-An admission that it was his firearm is not an admission of guilt or his personal contribution to a death. The Officer hasn’t outright said it, but has implied that the girl may have pulled the trigger by accident. If that’s the case, it can’t even be manslaughter. This is still under investigation and jumping to outlandish conclusions is foolish.

      Even if it were manslaughter, it’d be “involuntary manslaughter” because of an apparent absence of intent. That said, the law requires proof of recklessness, but IF he was wearing it in a proper holster that makes it hard. IF he was aware that she was playing with his sidearm and did nothing to stop her, I think it’d more likely prosecuters would pursue “Negligent homicide” over manslaughter.

    • The Tengu

      If that comment by PigSnowball isn’t reeking of sarcastic tone, it’s reeking of stupid.

  • StoutOfHeart

    I don’t feel this is a murder. However, as soon as I read the story, I felt it was a cover-up of sorts.

    The only fact we know is that a young woman is dead. It’s been reported that the gun was that of an off-duty police officer hosting a party at his home. He was supposedly dancing with his wife when the deceased came up behind him and allegedly hugged him, at which time the weapon discharged.

    For this to have occurred the way it’s being reported does seem highly unlikely. Initially, before more information was released, I had assumed the young lady was intoxicated from celebrating her upcoming birthday and made the mistake of playfully grabbing the firearm, causing a negligent discharge, either the result of instinct from the officer’s weapon retention training in clamping his arm down on the firearm and her accidentally manipulating the trigger OR her actually getting her finger in the trigger guard while attempting to pull the weapon and her unpracticed draw hung-up on the holster, again causing the trigger to be manipulated and the weapon to discharge. I believed that certain details were being omitted so as not to sully the deceased’s name.

    However, now that it seems the off-duty officer and the deceased are not family nor close friends, I doubt the likelihood of that scenario. It’s possible that the firearm was being kept in a less that secure manner, much less than that of a retention holster, and that, combined with the lack of a safety or having the safety disengaged could have allowed the trigger to be manipulated in such a way during the awkward “from behind” embrace that it discharged. Again, this would be negligence AND highly unlikely.

    Nowhere yet have I read about the location of the wound on the deceased and I feel that tells us all something as well. The media is usually very detailed when it comes to describing wounds suffered in incidents involving firearms, to the point of being overly graphic. Firearms knowledge, not so accurate when it comes to the press but the wounds suffered are usually hard to mistake, even for them. Anyway…

    Lastly, is the most gruesome of possibilities. It was also reported that the deceased’s mother was told they were face-to-face and the young woman “was being a little flirty” with the off-duty officer. Maybe they were somewhere where no one else could see them, you know, to be alone *wink wink*, and the wife walked-in on them. She grabs the officer’s gun and shoots the young lady, and now the off-duty officer & his wife are making this story up to protect themselves. Him for allowing his issued weapon to be used in a homicide and the wife from the obvious. Also far-fetched but still possible. I wonder if we’ll ever really know the truth of this event.

    • Teknix

      I read somewhere else that the wound was in the lung. On that site everyone assumed it was a shoulder holster. But how could a waist holster shoot someone in the lung?!?!

    • Alex-mac

      An autopsy will reveal the exact trajectory of the bullet. But it does seem it’s a coverup.

      The only way it could happen was if the man and woman had wrestled with the gun. A simple snatch would not have been able to cause a lung shot.

  • george

    What a very, very strange story. I can’t think of any way a holstered gun can go off. Considering the cast of characters, I don’t think I want to know.

  • Mort

    It’s already been revealed that this was an erotic dance being performed and that she was in front of and under him. Old news folks.

    • Chase

      Do you have a link? I’ve heard speculation that this was the case, but only speculation.

      • Chase

        Nevermind, I missed it above. Disregard.

  • Gidge

    The story as detailed in the article doesn’t add up. There’s no way this should be possible.

    Let me be clear: I’m not accusing anybody of any wrongdoing. There isn’t enough information to do that. The press could have some details wrong based on limited and/or inaccurate information at their disposal. It’s possible that there has been some foul play but without anything more than newspaper reports it would be wrong to make damaging conclusions that could ruin someone’s life.

    With a propped holster and an M&P that has not been unsafely modified there should be no way this can happen. Even if the pistol were to become dislodged from the holster (a big if, assuming it’s a good holster) then the trigger needs a solid and deliberate pull directly back to discharge.

    • JM

      Rule number one of firearms safety: always treat the gun as if loaded and ready to fire. There’s a reason for this rule of thumb.

      Anyone who says, “There’s no way” has ignored everything they’ve learned about proper firearms manipulation and safety.

      • Gidge

        Good point. But you have to admit if he was adhering to proper holster and carry practices and the gun hadn’t been unsafely modified the chances are incredibly remote.

      • JM

        It’s a likelihood, I’ll give you that. But the story serves as a perfect example of why Rule #1 is so prevalent.

  • DrewN

    This was discussed at lenth last week and the general opinion was that the young lady in question was in fact kneeling in front of the LEO and the weapon was either dropped and caught or accidently manipulated during hurried undressing/redressing.

  • Zermoid

    The story is BS. Has to be, who wears a gun on their waistband that’s pointing muzzle up? It would have to be unless the cop is 9 foot tall and the girl was a midget for her to get shot in the chest from a holstered gun.

    Since that is highly unlikely the story is bull, plain and simple.

    • JM

      The story is bull, or the explanation is bull? I think it would be hard to fake someone getting shot and killed by a cop.

  • gunslinger

    Things don’t add up. want to know more…

  • Icchan

    There was an incident some years ago very similar at Front Sight academy, where someone had purchased a brand new holster for their gun (a 1911 IIRC) for training and hadn’t checked the fit of the trigger into the holster itself. It was one of the ‘fitted’ holster designs, with the material pinched into the trigger guard area to be more form-fitting to the gun as a retention device. The shooter had a wide target trigger installed on the firearm in question, which came into contact with the holster material during holstering and discharged. Obviously safety practices were broken with the weapon being unsafed upon holstering, but the primary cause was unintentional trigger activation from the holster pressing too tight on the trigger and pushing it back.

    Pointedly, the M&P pictured above has no external thumb safety (like the Glock) and the lever-style “trigger safety” extends to the edges of the trigger – which means friction against an improperly fitted holster could potentially discharge the weapon. The trigger itself is certainly thinner than the guard, though is not by any means thin. Without knowing the exact model of pistol involved it’s speculative, but I highly doubt the relevant dimensions are significantly different across the M&P platform.

    I wonder if, during whatever was going on – a hug, an erotic dance, oral sex, or whatever – the holstered gun was already partially staged on the trigger, and further movement of the gun and holster caused by the interaction may have pushed it that much further into a firing position, discharging the weapon and killing the woman. With a hammerless design, there’s no telltale partial cocking of the hammer as you’d see in something like a Beretta 92 or H&K USP in double-action. And with no mechanical thumb or grip safety, the only thing preventing discharge is trigger movement – and fingers aren’t always the only thing on triggers, ask anyone who’s had a UD from items getting in the triggerguard of a pocket carry.

    This certainly could have been prevented with a mechanical safety, and should not have happened had the weapon handler had a properly fitted holster (SPECULATIVE!) – though I highly emphasize that the above is speculation as noone’s stated what brand and model of holster was used. I offer this as a potential causal explanation of the incident, not any sort of justification or excusing of the culpability of the person in question. He did, I can only assume knowingly, bring a fully loaded weapon with him into a social event, and I do question his judgement in this regard. If I’m correct about the holster, then it was certainly the officer’s duty to use a holster that was properly compatible with the weapon and would not risk the situation of an unintentional discharge.

    Just speculation, but it’s something to think about.

    • J

      “. He did, I can only assume knowingly, bring a fully loaded weapon with him into a social event, and I do question his judgement in this regard.”

      Wait, what? Really? If I’m at a social event with LE present, I would EXPECT them to be carrying.

      • Reverend Clint

        maybe a ankle holster would have been a better choice

      • J.T.

        Even if those LEOs would probably be consuming alcohol? I wouldn’t want them carrying.

    • RocketScientist

      I may be mistaken, but I believe the M&P is offered with several available options, one of which is for an external manual safety. While many civilian users do not order this model, I believe it was intended for use by those who are required to have an external safety (LEO etc.). Again, I could be rmistaken, but this is what a I remember from helping a buddy research the M&P before he purchased one a few months back.

    • Burst

      To put it in even simpler terms:
      Safe Action-isn’t.

  • zack991

    I smell BS, I have been following this from day one and It smells like another Detroit coverup. No way she was shot in the chest by giving him a hug to begin with.

  • derfel cadarn

    Unless she was kneeling on the ground there is no way from an inside the waistban carry she could be shot in the chest. Something other than dancing was going on. This is being covered up because of the “extenuating circumstances”. It is Bull$H!T some one is dead and negligence was involved.

  • Jacob

    The only way I could figure this one out was maybe while they were dancing she dropped down to the floor and was coming up his body either in the front or the back and the weapon discharged.

    When the article first came out I assumed it was a shoulder holster.

    I believe another poster asked, I believe the original article had her shot through the chest and lung.

  • Lance

    No hugging cops on DUTY!! LOL

    • JM

      He was off duty. Which makes the story even more bizarre.

  • Roscoe Coffman

    Male Bovine Effluvia.

  • spencer

    “A police official familiar with the investigation has said Miller was on her knees dancing behind Parrish, a 16-year veteran of the force, and she was tugging at Parrish’s waist when his holstered gun fired, striking her.”

    “Police said preliminary findings show the shooting appears to be an accident, and Parrish did not touch his Smith & Wesson M&P 40, which was in a soft holster on the right side of his waist.”

    “Police have not said the exact type of holster Parrish was using, but said that it could have allowed the trigger of Parrish’s gun to be “manipulated” while it was stored.”

    -Detroit Free Press-

  • RocketScientist

    Man, this Duchess of DOOK guy must be really, REALLY cool. I mean, he not only posts nothing but offensive comments, but his post is also littered with improper grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization (all well-documented signs of being a really cool guy). Then to top it all off, he goes ahead and throws in excessive and unnecessary profanity that does nothing to emphasize his point (as is the case with properly applied profanity), but does a great job of illustrating his lack of vocabulary. This is not only another sign of a really cool guy, but also classic ‘internet tough-guy’ behavior. All-in-all he comes off as a pretty impressive specimen. I wish I could be cool like him. Unfortunately I’m stuck just writing intelligent, educated, open-minded posts that generally stimulate an enlightening conversation. Oh well.

    • Phil White


      I’ve noted the offensive comments and deleted all of this persons post. I will continue doing so in the future. The Dook might as well go away because the comments will be gone at once!


  • RCG

    I call BS on this “story.”

  • Stella

    So who want to make fun of my XD’s grip safety now?

    • Chase

      I have an XD and I want to trade it for an M&P, but nevertheless this is funny. 🙂

  • Billy Bones

    Sounds like they were “daggering”.
    An outlandish sexual dance form that is quite popular. High energy with exaggerated movements.

  • Netforce

    Shouldn’t the officer’s firearm been on “Safe”?

    • Woodroez

      While the Smith and Wesson M&P can have a external safety, they often don’t and this one did not.

    • Phil White

      Most police departments require the M&P not have a manual safety.

  • Jay

    Sorry in advance, but when I saw this last week my first thought was,

    JFK called and & wants his magic bullet back

  • BGull

    I’m from the Detroit area and this story got several days of coverage.

    I understand why people would call BS on this story, but it seems legit, though bizarre.

    There is no love of Detroit Police from the local news media, and they were sniffing around this story like a hound dog on a t-bone. Several party goers actually saw the woman get shot, and confirmed the cop had his back to the woman when it happened.

  • Ryan

    Personally, I think the lesson here is don’t care a semi-auto with a round in the chamber. Regardless, of “how” she got shot, there is no need (in my opinion) to carry with a round in the chamber. Sure it takes a little longer to get the weapon into action, but with sufficient training you can minimize that time.

    • Phil White

      With all due respect any experienced handgunner always carries his or her defensive gun with a round chambered.
      Carrying a pistol without a round chambered increases your response time to the point you will lose the gun fight!

  • DRod

    I will continue to carry my Glock 19 in a Comptac holster in condition one.

  • Tony

    I think it is this guy’s soft holster that got into the trigger guard

    • Aurelien

      The story reminds me of the guy that shot himself with a Glock (another pretty safe handgun) while getting in his car.

      My guess is, crappy holster, worn in a bad way.

      When you carry, you absolutely need to get a good holster, and when you carry concealed, that holster needs to be perfecly rigid and cover your trigger guard so nothing can get in and activate the trigger.

      But in any case, reserve your judgement (if you absolutely need to judge) until every info is at hands. No need for pitchforks and hanging.

      • Phil White

        The guy who shot himself getting in his car was in fact carrying a Glock. The holster was a standard belt slide with a universal fit. I saw pics he took of his wound and holster. The holster was indeed worn out and should have been put in the trash a year or so before this happened.

  • DaveTheGreat

    I can think of a handful of ways this would be possible, but highly unlikely. Which makes sense, because if they were “likely,” this sort of thing would happen a lot.

    This was a very rare event. Rare events have unlikely circumstances.

    For what it’s worth (I was a deputy sheriff for 3 years and a small-town municipal cop for 3 1/2): LEOs are trained to carry handguns with a round in the chamber so they can draw and fire in one motion, with one hand (if necessary). Their training mainly focuses on rigid duty holsters with built-in retention devices, which act as the mechanical safety for their firearms (with the operator being the primary safety). When I went through the academy, they didn’t teach us anything about concealed carry (it was basic academy; we were being trained to be rookies on uniformed duty). Most cops take other classes on their own, share tips with each other and eventually get advanced training, but not all of them do. They are trained in legal issues and ethical issues related to off-duty carry, but in most cases they don’t actually get practical training in concealed carry.

    So I could see why he could have had a round chambered. And there is a huge difference between attending a party where people drink and being drunk (ever been a designated driver?), so I can see a potential excuse for him being armed at a party. And I can see reasons why he may not have had a proper concealed holster or proper carry techniques. And I can see how a bad, loose soft holster could bunch up and be in a trigger guard. And I could see how such a situation could lead to this outcome.

    Doesn’t mean any of this is real, but it is plausible.

  • PLF

    have fun AUTO5

  • Waou

  • robertsims

    I have read all comments and news accounts that i can.I believe there is no coverup, just an investigation and ill bet it bears out just what they have said so far,an accidental discharge.There is no gun and holster combination that will make all guns safe, all the time, under all circumstances.