Awakened by noise, deputy shoots himself in the leg

Published June 10, 2007

DUNEDIN - A noise awakened an off-duty Pinellas sheriff's deputy Friday evening and he reached for his gun, accidentally shooting himself in the leg.

Deputy Jonathan Lopes' three children were home at the time, but no one else was injured, sheriff's spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda said.

Lopes, 49, an 11-year veteran, was in good condition Saturday at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa and could not be reached for comment.

The shooting occurred about 7 p.m. Friday when Lopes was awakened by a sudden noise and grabbed his personal 9mm handgun, which fired a round into his left leg, Barreda said. Investigators had not determined Saturday the source of the noise.

Barreda said she didn't know whether Lopes had ever been involved in a shooting before, and his personnel record was not available on Saturday.

As standard procedure, an internal investigation will be conducted to determine whether Lopes violated any policies.

Barreda said it was too early to tell whether Lopes, a patrol deputy, would be placed on leave during the review.

"Detectives are concerned about his recovery right now, " she said.

Jacob H. Fries can be reached at 727 893-8872 or jfries@sptimes.com.