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Brittany Lawonn, Published February 22 2008

Sheriff Laney says deputy's eight-day suspension fitting for accidently discharging gun in Cass County Courthouse

FARGO - Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney chose an eight-day suspension for a deputy who accidentally discharged his gun to make him accountable, he said during a news conference this morning.

Laney said some may feel the punishment Dean Wawers received is harsh, but he believes it is appropriate considering a gun was involved.

“These firearms, if mishandled, can be deadly,” Laney said.

Wawers, a 35-year veteran of the department, accidentally discharged his weapon on Jan. 10 at the Cass County District Courthouse.

The gun discharged as Wawers went to retrieve it from a coat hook, where he had hung it by the trigger guard, inside a bathroom stall, according to police reports.

The gun caught on the hook and discharged into the ceiling.

Laney said it hasn’t been determined when the unpaid suspension will take place. Wawers also received a letter of reprimand in his personnel file.