Kochi: An Assistant Commandant officer attached to the Tripunithura AR Camp died due to an accidental firing from his own pistol while being on night patrol during the wee hours of Sunday.
The incident happened at 1.45 am when Kottayam native Sabu Mathew (55), currently residing in Kalachinkal Veedu, Irumbanam, was on his vehicle along with his driver and his personal security officer.
“He was sitting in the back seat with the two others in the front. After doing a round, the vehicle was entering a pay and park ground at Vazhakala in Kakkanad when suddenly the pistol went off. The driver and the security officer were shocked to hear the sound and found Sabu sustaining a deep bullet injury near his heart. The officer told them the pistol went off accidently. Though the duo rushed him to a private hospital in Palarivattom, he succumbed to the injury by 2.20 am,” a police official said.
A team of officials led by Trikkakkara SI Sujith S.P. besides the forensic and ballistic experts soon reached the spot and indulged in evidence collection. The bullet was recovered from the backside of the vehicle after it pierced through the seat.
However, one aspect that is being probed is how the service pistol – a nine mm pistol – went off accidently as it has to be first loaded.
“The handle needs to be pulled back and it needs to be loaded before one can use the weapon. The two possibilities are that either the officer must have kept it in ready to use mode since the area is known for robberies, with many ATM thefts reported recently. The second one is the suicide angle. However, he was behaving normally throughout the shift and at the camp and was in a pleasant mood,” sources said.
They said a definite conclusion can be arrived only after receiving the forensic report which examines the angle of the weapon and the how close it was held before shooting and similar factors.
“We’ve lodged a case under CrPC section 174 for unnatural death based on the statement of his driver and security officer,” they said.