Child's Condition 'Guarded' After Shooting
By HUGH WILLETT, News Sentinel.

April 9, 2007

LENOIR CITY — Law enforcement officers in Loudon County first got involved with the accidental Easter Sunday shooting of a 5-year-old when they responded to a 911 report of a vehicle speeding down the highway.

It turned out to be James Michael Powers, a reserve officer for the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office who was racing his injured daughter to Fort Sanders Loudoun Medical Center, authorities said at a press conference this afternoon.

Chastity Powers was in guarded condition at University of Tennessee Medical Center, where she was flown by helicopter.

She is expected to remain hospitalized for four to five days, Chief Deputy Tony Aikens said. She was in intensive care after coming out of surgery around 2 a.m., authorities said, and her father has remained at her bedside, although he has been offered counseling.

Powers, 37, was cleaning his .40-caliber Glock model 22 when the gun discharged, hitting Chastity in the abdomen with a Winchester hollow point bullet.

The gun does not have a loaded chamber indicator, Reserve Chief Daryl H. Smith said.

He said Powers remains in good standing pending the outcome of an investigation. TBI is investigating.

Loudon County has 20 volunteer reserve officers. Powers, an assistant manager at an Ace Hardware store, has been an officer since January and received 40 hours of training, including firearms safety and a range qualification.

Officers’ primary duties are assisting regular officers in traffic control, relieving them at football games, providing security and similar functions.

Before becoming officers, they are given the same medical and psychological evaluation as full-time officers.

"The family has been devastated by the whole incident," Aikens said.

More details as they develop online and in Tuesday’s News Sentinel.

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Loudon County Officer Accidentally Shoots Daughter By NEWS SENTINEL STAFF
April 8, 2007

A Loudon County Sheriff’s Office reserve officer accidentally shot his 5-year-old daughter Sunday night, authorities said.

According to a press release issued by Chief Daryl H. Smith, reserve officer James Michael Powers said he was preparing his duty weapon for inspection about 9 p.m. when it discharged, wounding his daughter in the abdomen.

After the shooting, Powers personally drove the girl to the emergency room at Fort Loudoun Medical Center, the release stated.

The girl was treated and airlifted from there to the University of Tennessee Medical Center’s trauma unit.

UT Medical Center officials could not provide a condition on the girl late Sunday night.

Powers, who joined the sheriff’s office in January, received at least 40 hours of training, which included firearms safety and range qualification, the release stated.

Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider has asked District Attorney General Russell Johnson for assistance from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation in the case, the release said.