Man posing as 'bad guy' for training exercise accidentally shot by auxiliary police officer

Posted at 8:39 PM, Apr 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-25 20:39:00-04

TAYLOR, Mich. (WXYZ) — Ben Shotts has volunteered to play the role of a bad guy for Taylor Auxiliary Police Civil Defense before. But Sunday afternoon, the training exercise at Heritage Park went horribly wrong when one of the volunteer auxiliary officers accidentally shot Shotts in the abdomen.

"I covered my wound and I screamed at him, 'Why the hell did you not check your weapon?'" Shotts told 7 Action News by phone from his hospital bed.

The round fired from the handgun remains lodged in his pelvic area.

"Luckily, God really had his hand on me. And none of my organs were struck," he said.

Shotts, a musician and construction worker, said he has volunteered to role play before for the volunteer unit. He adds that he enjoys helping out in the acting roles and that his brother is a sergeant with the auxiliary department.

"He shot me, but he could have shot my wife. She was there," he said.

Michigan State Police is now investigating the events to see how a live round was introduced into training.

Shotts said it all happened as he was playing the role of a bad guy who had just shot the auxiliary officer's partner.

"You're supposed to know what you have in your hand," said Shotts, who thinks the auxiliary officer failed to remember that he still had live rounds in his gun.

"He was crying hysterically," Shotts said about the man who shot him, adding that the man "just fell apart."

Shotts was thankful that his brother and the other auxiliary officers were quick to render aid and get him emergency help.

"He did a wonderful job," he said. "The program (Taylor auxiliary) is a wonderful program."

We're told each auxiliary officers carries their own personal firearm and must have a concealed pistol license.

The auxiliary unit is run separately from the Taylor Police Department.

Taylor police have sworn officers and they were not involved in Sunday's training.

"Unfortunately, this particular individual was just super negligent," said Shotts, who is concerned about being unable to work while he recovers as well as any long-term effects.

"I'm not paralyzed or anything, but I'm pretty shredded up right now, so I have a severe lack of mobility," he said.

7 Action News tried to reach Taylor Auxiliary command officers by phone and email Monday. So far, no one has responded.