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Published on Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Air marshal shoots his own foot, another accidentally discharges gun in hotel room

Armed air marshals were introduced on flights in the US to try to increase passenger safety after 9/11, but there have been more than 200 cases of officers misusing their firearms while on duty, according to the Transportation Security Administration's Office of Inspection.

According to documents obtained by the news organisation CNN under the Freedom of Information Act, air marshals unintentionally discharged their weapons in 19 cases, and 70 times air marshals lost, misplaced or had their firearms stolen.

More than a dozen incidents involved alcohol, including one when a marshal flew while drunk and another attended a training exercise under the influence.

The data supplied to CNN covered the period from 2005 to 2017.
While most incidents did not impact the safety of the officers or others, there were some serious incidents, such as when an agent 'unintentionally discharged a personally-owned firearm resulting in a gunshot wound to his right foot' and another in 2013 when an air marshal inadvertently fired his weapon in a hotel room, damaging a TV in an adjoining room.

The TSA said these incidents were rare and involved less than 1% of air marshals.

"All reports of misconduct are taken seriously and fully investigated. When those investigations validate any misconduct, TSA takes swift disciplinary actions," spokesman Thomas Kelly told CNN.

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