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FL: DEP officer shoots friend through the neck

November 19, 2009

Off-duty officers involved in apparent hunting accident

By Karen Voyles Staff writer

Published: Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 7:10 p.m. Last Modified: Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 7:10 p.m.

An off-duty state officer was involved in what investigators say appears to be a hunting accident.

An off-duty state correctional officer was left with a shotgun pellet near his spine in what apparently is an accidental shooting, but the man's injury is not considered life-threatening.

According to preliminary reports from the Dixie County Sheriff's Office and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the shooting happened around 10:30 a.m. Thursday. According to reports, the men were hunting deer in a wooded area behind Scrub Creek Baptist Church, which is north of Cross City off County Road 351.

Investigators said Michael Stacey Everett, a law enforcement officer for the Department of Environmental Protection, fired a .12-gauge shotgun, a pellet from which traveled through the neck of one of his best friends, Mike Devaney.

Devaney, a sergeant at Lancaster Correctional Institution outside Trenton, was taken to Shands at the University of Florida. Dixie County officials said doctors at Shands decided not to try to remove the pellet, which stopped near his spinal column. Devaney was released by late afternoon.

According to DEP policies, Everett is unlikely to be disciplined for the shooting by the agency. A procedural section of the agency's policy handbook states that "any firearm discharge that occurs, other than on a firing range, shall be immediately reported to a supervisor and in an Offense/Incident Report. This does not apply to recreational use of off-duty personal firearms.".

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