Officer killed in shooting range accident

December 20, 2007 4:46:36 AM PST
A police officer for the Port of Corpus Christi died in a shooting accident at the department's gun range, police said. James Saavedra, 40, was shot once in the chest Wednesday while he and another officer were sighting in a rifle, said Luther Kim, the port's police chief. Saavedra died at a hospital one hour later.

Saavedra was working with Officer Eric Giannamore when the shot was fired. Kim said he did not know which officer fired the shot or where the two men were standing in relation to one another.

Kim said the officers were on duty when the shooting occurred. Both were qualified range masters and experienced as firearms instructors, he said.

"Words cannot express the sorrow we all feel at his untimely passing," Kim said. "(Saavedra) was an exceptional and highly experienced police officer, but more importantly, a wonderful man."

The Corpus Christi Police Department was handling the investigation for the port police force, a nine-officer department with jurisdiction over the Nueces County port. Kim said Giannamore has been placed on administrative leave with pay.

Saavedra is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son.

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