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Court Documents Outline Defense For Officer Who Shot Recruit

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Next week, a Baltimore City police officer goes on trial, accused of shooting a recruit during a training exercise. Now new court documents reveal what William Kern’s defense looks like.

Mary Bubala has more.

On Feb. 12 at the former Rosewood Center, a police recruit was shot in the face in a training exercise that went horribly wrong.

Raymond Gray was shot in the head and blinded in one eye after authorities say training instructor William Kern used his own gun instead of a special training weapon during an exercise.

Now new court documents reveal Kern’s defense attorney will try to prove he was supposed to have a live weapon to ensure the safety of the officers and cadets.

“At least one person who is authorized to carry a firearm must be armed with a live weapon,” read the documents.

Court documents also reveal the training gun and the real weapon are roughly the same size, weight and measurement. The only difference is that the grip on the training weapon is blue.

“Any individual gripping a training device in the same fashion as they would grip a live weapon would not see the entirety of the blue grip,” read the document. “The effect of muscle memory and recall of an officer of 17 years, such as Officer Kern, would cause that officer to engage in the same mechanics of withdrawing, aiming and firing a training device as they would a live weapon.”

Other police departments use training weapons entirely colored blue to avoid any confusion.

Kern is charged with second-degree assault and reckless endangerment. Both are misdemeanors. Meanwhile, the recruit who was shot is out of the hospital. His family has filed a civil suit against Kern and the city.

The training academy was shut down for several weeks during the investigation.

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