“Blue on Blue” in the Home – Sheriff’s Deputy Shoots Daughter

In Loudoun County, not so far from where I grew up, a Sheriff’s deputy accidentally shot his own daughter, who was sneaking back home after being out late. USA Today covers the details of the shooting:

A Virginia sheriff’s deputy mistook his 16-year-old daughter for an intruder early Tuesday and shot her as she sneaked back into their home, authorities say.

After alerting 911, the deputy then crashed his car while racing her to the hospital, and emergency responders finished transporting her for treatment at Winchester Medical Center, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office told WHAG-TV.

The teen was shot once in her torso and was listed in stable condition Thursday. She suffered no additional injuries when her father, Loudoun County Sheriff’s Deputy Easton McDonald, hit a barricade.

The shooting happened about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday while McDonald, a 13-year veteran, was getting ready for work, said Frederick County Sheriff’s Capt. Donnie Lang. The home’s alarm system indicated a door of the attached garage had been opened, and McDonald grabbed his personal handgun to investigate.

Seeing a dark figure approaching him, he fired.

“Then he hears her voice and recognizes that it’s his daughter,” Lang told The Washington Post.

A flashlight, either firearm-mounted or handheld, could have prevented this tragedy. Stay safe, and be sure of your targets, everybody.

H/T, Andrew of Vuurwapen Blog.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


  • A.g.

    Rules 4.
    Be sure of your target and what’s beyond it.

    Sad story.

  • Gallan

    A brain would also have prevented this tragedy.

  • 1leggeddog

    There are 4 basic rules of firearm safety.

    So much for being a police officer…

  • gunslinger


    • SonnyRoofy

      Probably looked like a dog in the dark.

      • dan citizen

        first shot, then her looks insulted… 🙂

  • iowaclass

    Professional law enforcement?

    • Dan-O

      Remember, Lawlz Enforcement people are the only ones professional enough to handle a firearm!

  • West

    Nothing more dangerous than a scared cop.

  • Duray

    … but at least he didn’t “give away his position” with a flashlight.

  • J.T.

    “A flashlight, either firearm-mounted or handheld, could have prevented this tragedy.”

    So could have saying something along the lines of “Stop.Who are you? I have a gun.” Sounds to me like he had an itchy trigger finger and was looking forward to getting to shoot someone.

  • dan citizen

    If this had been anyone other than his daughter it would have read like this:

    “A fast thinking off duty officer shot a dangerous criminal. After confronting the intruder and repeatedly issuing warnings the officer was forced to fire. Several other officers who were asleep in their own homes are available as witnesses”

    If there is justice he should lose his gun rights.

    • Mr.T

      So true

  • mark

    She was just conducting a no knock raid. I don’t see why he had a problem with it.

  • Fruitbat44

    Sad story. Even sadder that so many posters see it as a chance to sneer . . .

    But given the facts, as reported in the news article, and more details may emerge later, it does look as if giving a warning before firing would have prevented this sorry state of affairs.

    Hmmm . . . I don’t recall ever reading on a firearms blog, not necessarily this one – and that doesn’t mean it’s never been posted – any gun owner stating that they would shout a warning at an intruder they found sneaking into their house after dark before opening fire.

    If this (near-)tragedy encourages people to challenge intruders before firing then hopefully some good of it.

    • Cymond

      Although I cannot cite them at the moment, I certainly have read stories where warnings were given, or the perp had ample chance to retreat. I have seen some defense trainers include a warning as part of their defensive procedure.

      In some cases, there isn’t time for a warning. In one memorable case, a man broke in to a house while a mother and children were present. They retreated upstairs and hid in a closet. At some point, the mother retrieved a 6-shot revolver (38 special). The intruder came up stairs and opened the closet door. Needless to say, the mother opened fire on him, hitting him 5 times in the head. She held him at gunpoint while they escaped to a neighbor’s house. The intruder then went to his car and tried to drive away but he didn’t get far. News reports at the time state that he was taken to the hospital, treated for his wounds, and was expected to survive.

      I agree that a warning (with enough time for a reply) probably could have averted this tragedy.

  • USMC03Vet

    Well this is horrible.

  • Jeff

    Prayers sent. I hope the girl heals and the family gets through this.

  • Nimrod

    Jeez. what a dumbass.

  • Wetcoaster

    “Seeing a dark figure approaching him”

    All figures are dark when the lights are out.

  • Gallan

    Shoot first, ask questions later.

  • Jim

    Prayers for the family and I bet she doesn’t pull this again. I wonder if her lover and her think its worth getting shot to pull this. You can blame dad but what many will never know is every criminal he has arrested in his 12 year career can and sometime will come after him…I know one got my mother when she got off shift so I can see why he was so scared. My Lt was shot by a child molester he arrested that had posted bail and in his own front yard…not an easy job. What is sad is so many gun owners seem to think this situation is funny so maybe one day it may happen to them. Except if it does do not call the police as you seem to think you do not need them. Just let the family member you shot die and claim you have a witness in your home…idiots.

  • avconsumer2

    Sounds like somebody needs to retrain in multiple aspects. Or resign.
    Also, sneaking back in while your cop dad is getting ready for work? Teenagers.

  • Ckh88

    No escalation of force? No verbal warning? Ouch.

  • Agitator

    Geez, I live in this county. Remind me to go even further out of my way to avoid any… Imperial entanglements.

  • Grindstone50k

    “Cops have better training to use firearms”

    – Antis

  • Wetcoaster

    Kind of a harsh punishment for breaking curfew, isn’t it? Most parents would have just gone with grounding them.

    I’m glad she’s doing okay. I wonder if one of her dad’s coworkers is going to work this incident into an argument for more powerful ammunition/calibre.

  • Jack

    Some of the DB comments here about this poor guy, and this unfortunate incident.” Oops…hold on and let me find my flashlight ok?!” “Do you have a minute, I have to check if everyone is in their beds before I decide to shoot you or not ok!?” Fu**king azzholes! This guy did the right thing and his payment will be doubt for the rest of his life. Its too bad about his kid and thank god she is alive but I would have not taken the chance either at 3am. Poor bastard

  • Stephen

    Being in law enforcement, this is a tragedy and I pray for the family. One blessing is that the daughter did not die. Imagine the pain of knowing you caused the death of your child.

    With that said, we are taught to give loud verbal commands, identify (friendly or threat) then make a decision. Sadly the officer did not make the proper ID (and a light would have made the difference).

    I would also say (assume) that training has a part to play. On the range, many just shoot their qualification and there are no loud verbal commands, and I have yet to see a department that trains on ID drills.

    I have a pistol fitted with a light and practice going thru the house at night with the light. I set up targets throughout the house and have the wife or kid put a cut out gun or knife on a target, unbeknownst to me, then as I go through the house I give loud verbal commands then engage the threat.

    At any rate, I’m glad the daughter lived – that will be a huge lesson learned.

  • Boko Hos

    What a moron. He was doing what he does on the job, get scared of shadows and start shooting. Cops are such pussies.