DENVER -- A Civil Service Commission hearing panel has upheld the firing of a Denver police officer who used unauthorized ammunition and a rifle in a shootout, wounding a bystander Robert Fitzgibbons, 41, had appealed his July 2011 firing by former Manager of Safety Charles Garcia.
A three-member hearing panel's decision released Thursday sustained Fitzgibbons' termination for violating the police Operations Manual by firing military tracer bullets from his personal AR-15 rifle during a shootout with a gunman as a crowd was letting out of Club Vinyl in the early-morning hours of July 2, 2010.
The panel also sustained dismissing Fitzgibbons for engaging in conduct prejudicial to the good order and police discipline of the department.
Fitzgibbons, a former Army sniper, admitted that he had not passed firearms qualifications to use the AR-15 on duty, the panel's report said.
Department weapons experts testified at the appeal hearing that neither the assault rifle nor the full metal jacket ammunition should be used in a crowded urban setting, because such AR-15 rounds will travel more than 1 mile.
The bystander, 29-year-old Diamond Demmer, was walking to her car when she was hit with bullet fragments in both legs and the torso. Demmer told officials that she has nerve damage from the shooting and walks with some pain.
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