Sheriff’s Deputy Hit by Shooting Range Bullet Fragments Ricocheting from Steel Dog Target, Hospitalized

Monday, March 15th, McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Woods was hit by bullet fragments ricocheting off a steel target while participating in a SWAT Team training exercise, according to documents obtained from through a Freedom of Information request. The targets are made of steel and designed to fall over when shot.

Hired in 2005, Woods was first man on his team on the range during the exercise. There was a dog four feet in front of the door, but Woods didn’t shoot it.

Someone behind him did. It was the fifth man in the stack, Deputy Hart.

Hart’s bullet ricocheted and fragments drew Woods’ blood in four places.

Enough blood flowed from wounds to his face, right hand, left arm and inner left thigh to send him to the Centegra’s Woodstock hospital in an ambulance.

Witness Reports from Those on Woods’ 8-Member SWAT Team

(I tried to arrange the deputies in their order in the “stack.” I did not find reports from eight men that witness reports say were on this part of the SWAT Team.
I could only identify six of the eight members, including Woods.)

Sgt. Ellis

“was number one in the stack and was designated to breach.

“After breaching the door, I held the door open for the team to make entry.

“I never made entry into the room and was outside during the entire drill.

“I heard Dep. Woods scream something, but do not remember the verbiage.

“After than I saw Dep. Woods exit through the door stating that he could feel his leg bleeding.”

In the room was Deputy Manes. He wrote in his report,

“Deputy Woods was the first in the room. As I entered the room I observed a dog target located directly in front of the door approximately 4 feet into the room.

“As I entered the room, I bypassed Dep. Woods by going behind him and clearing my corner which was the left side.

“I encountered a target to my front approximately 8 feet into the room.

“I felt a concussion to my right side.

“After engaging the target, I scanned the room and observed the dog target had been shot.

“Everyone was checking themselves, when Dep. Woods noticed he had been hit with flying debris.

“Someone told Dep. Woods he was bleeding from the face.

“Training was concluded and first aid began on Dep. Woods.”

Deputy McKenzie was also on the SWAT team practicing.

“…Dep. Woods was injured.

“I was in the same stack as Dep. Woods that made entry into a mock room.

“I ended up on the far right side of the room and Dep. Woods was on the left side of the room.

“After the scenario was finished I heard people talking on the far left side and heard Dep. Woods say that he had taken some fragmentation.

“I did not see what happened.”

Deputy Hart was the fifth man in the room.

“Upon my entry into the room, I took a position on the center left side of the room approximately 2 feet to the right of Dep. Woods.

“As I entered the room I encountered an attacking dog (shoot) target on a steel plate.

“I engaged the target with one round of 5.56 cal to reduce the threat.

“After the shot on the steel plate, I heard Dep. Woods grunt in pain.

“He showed he had bee(n) exposed to shraptnel from the round.

“I observed his glove was pitted from the shraptnel.

“He then said that his leg was more hurt.

“Deputy Woods was immediately attended to by range staff.”

Sgt. Pyle wrote a report, too. He was the “last one in the stack and did not enter the room.”

Although he did not witness the bullet fragments hitting Woods, he did see “a small amount of blood on his hand and face.

“Dep. Woods stated that he leg was hurting,” Pyle continues in his report to Sgt. Kalenick.

“I assisted Dep. Woods in securing his gear and removing his vest.

“After further inspection his left inner thigh it was determined that he had shrapnel wounds to his leg. Lt. Miller requested an ambulance be called and we awaited for Woodstock Fire Department to arrive. While waiting, Dep. Hildreth provided initial first aid to Dep. Woods left leg and right hand. Nothing further.”

Those standing on the Right Hand Side of the Range

Here’s Officer Kneaevic‘s take:

“…I was standing on the right hand side of the scenario mock up during the live fire SWAT training exercise.

“During the sixth rotation, the entry team made entry as they had on previous entries.

“After all entry team members had engaged their targets and the line was clear, I heard Deputy Woods say he had been struck by fragments of the frangible rounds.

“I observed Deputy Woods wipe blood from his face. Deputy Woods was concerned about the condition of his leg.

“Deputy Woods was escorted to the picnic bench and I observed more blood on his left thigh…

“I assisted Deputy Hildreth in controlling the bleeding until (Rescue) arrived.

“After Deputy Woods had been loaded into the ambulance I assisted in securing all ammunition.”

Officer Christensn was also inside the range. He was standing “on the right hand side.”

“After all entry team members had engaged their targets and the line was clear, I heard Deputy Woods say he had been struck by fragments of the frangible rounds.

“I immediately noticed pieces of shrapnel in his right glove and a few small drops of blood on the right hand side of his nose.

“Deputy Woods then stated he could feel that his leg was hit.

“Deputy Woods was escorted to the range picnic table at Lt. Miller’s direction.

“When I went to the table, I noticed blood on Deputy Wood’s left inner thigh. I immediately proceeded to the white box truck and retrieved the first aid kit. I handed the first aid kit to another range officer from the back of the truck.

“Then I went back to the table to help Officer Knezevic and Deputy Hildreth apply bandages to Deputy Wood’s leg.

“Once Deputy Woods’s leg was bandaged, I assisted Sgt. Ellis in clearing Deputy Woods’s firearms and secured them in his patrol vehicle’s trunk.

“It was at this time that rescue arrived and took Deputy Woods.”

Officer Carlson was

“standing on the right hand side of the wall with Officer Christensen and Deputy Morrow, when one of the SWAT teams entered the room to perform a room clearing drill.

“I saw Deputy Woods enter the room first and move to the left side of the room.

“As other team members entered, the room my view of Deputy Woods was obscured.

“Once all the targets had been engaged, and all SWAT team members were clear I heard Woods say that he got hit by some pieces of frangible rounds.

“He was taken to the table and Lt. Miller stated that emergency needed to be called.”

Carlson and Acevedo then proceeded to clear all the weapons and ask those not involved in first aid to go to the range house.

Also standing on the right was Deputy Morrow, who was working as a range officer.

“Range officers,” he writes in his report, date stamped March 18th, “were positioned in various places around the shooting area.”

Woods was on the second “element,” consisting of “8 SWAT members.”

“Deputy Woods entered the room first and bypassed the dog target. He then moved to a position to the left of the dog target and stopped. Several other team members entered, moving in various directions and engaging targets as prescribed by SWAT Standard Operating Procedures.“Deputy Hart entered, observed the un-engaged dog target, and fired one round.

“Deputy Harts round struck the dog target.

“The spatter from the frangible round breaking apart against the target struck Deputy Woods in several places, including the right hand, left arm, and left leg.

“Deputy Woods indicated he was injured.”

Dep. Morrow explains he told Woods to leave the line and check the severity of his injuries.

“Lieutenant Miller observed the injuries and advised me that emergency medical services should be activated. I activated EMS and the Range Emergency Plan was initiated at that time.”

Dep. Morrow notified Lt. Cedergren and Sgt. Wagner, who responded to the scene.

“Deputy Woods was transported to the Woodstock Memorial Medical Center. He was treated and release from the hospital.”

Watching from the Left Hand Side of the Range

Officer Acevedo was also in the room, standing

“on the left side of the range and I observed Deputy Woods make entry into the room first.

“I watched Deputy Woods engage his targets and also observed Deputy Maness engage his targets.

“Once everyone cleared the room I heard Deputy Morrow say clear and I approached the team.

“As I approached I heard Deputy Wood(s) say that he had been sprayed by some fragments of the bullets.

“Deputy Morrow told Office Grisolia to take Deputy Woods off the firing line and check him out.

“A few minutes later Officer Grisolia told Deputy Morrow to call EMS.

“I instructed the rest of the SWAT Team to stand on the firing line and clear all weapons. Once everyone had cleared their weapons, I had the team ground all the ammo on the back of the white truck and then had the team stage in the range house.

“Lt. Miller then instructed me to watch the scene and to make sure than nothing was disturbed.

“EMS arrived soon after and took Deputy Woods to the hospital.”

Officer Grisolia was also

“standing on the left hand side of the wall with Officer Acevado.”

“I saw Deputy Woods enter the room first and engage the target on the left hand side of the room.

“All other targets were engaged by other SWAT team members.

“I could not identify who shot what target other than the target that Woods shot at.

“Once all the targets were engaged, and all SWAT team members were clear I heard Woods say that he got hit by some pieces of frangible rounds.

“He was taken to the table and Lt. Miller stated that emergency needed to be called. Deputy Morrow called emergency, and I proceeded to the front gate to wait for the ambulance.”

= = = = =
I’ve tried to figure out where the SWAT Team members were standing during the exercise.

Of the eight members identified in the overall report, two say they were outside the room. They are Sgts. Ellis and Pyle. Ellis says he was first; Pyle last.

Eric Woods, whose report, if any, was not provided, was first in the door, where he was confronted by the dog target, which was four feet inside the entrance.

But he didn’t shoot it.

Manes followed Woods,going behind him and turning left. He apparently was also hit.

It is unclear what order Deputy McKenzie entered the room, but he ended up on the right hand side of the room, while Woods was on the left.

Deputy Hart was the fifth man in the room. He ended up center left.

So, from left to right, facing into the room, were Manes, Woods, Hart, presumably deputies who did not fill out a report and McKenzie.

More blanks remain to be filled in.


Sheriff’s Deputy Hit by Shooting Range Bullet Fragments Ricocheting from Steel Dog Target, Hospitalized — 14 Comments

  1. Why didn’t Woods shoot the dog? If he would have shot the dog, this whole thing would have been avoided. I think there may have been a shooter on the grassy knoll at the firing range. I do not find the single bullet theory to be appropriate.

  2. I’m just waiting for an anti gun idiot to comment how if gun weren’t present the injury wouldn’t have occurred. I’ve been waiting to use my “armed with cupcakes” line…

  3. Cal, great job getting the reports. Look at the reports’ dates and times. I wonder whether all deputies wrote their reports at the same time and in the company of all the others, which seems to be common practice at MCSD.

    You mean you can’t figure out what happened from the reports? Right. You have to be a mindreader or a psychic. The purpose of these reports is to report what happened. No one will ever know from these, because no specific, usable sequence exists.

    Deputies are taught to write in cop-ese, not in clear language so that sequence can be used to figure out causes and results. No distances or times elapsed are included. Who was where. No one says, “I did, he did, then I did, etc.”, with enough detail for a commander or investigating panel to have a clear picture of how this unfolded.

    Interesting how the exercise stopped after the deputy was wounded. Why wasn’t he evacuated, while the exercise continued? If this had been a real incident, they wouldn’t have shouted, “Stop firing. Deputy injured. Stand by for five.”

    CALEA isn’t going to help here. The Dept. has huge problems, based on how this was handled!

  4. Something is definately wrong here. I read and they talk of hazing.

    I can tell you this, you shouldn’t be using steel targets with a rifle of any sort unless the shooter is a safe distance away from the steel target.

    Here is a website that gives the safe distances.

    Manes says the target was four feet away and they were shooting with AR-15’s rifles I take it. (Based on the caliber of the rounds mentined in the report)

    The deputies involved, all the deputies involved, especially the supervisors displayed varying levels of incompetency by organizing and participating in this dangerous training exercise.

    Mininmum safe distance for steel target when using rifles varies. Standard safe training would give a distance of 50 to 100 ft. (The link states 100ft)

    Lucky no one died.

  5. Many of the people in this report are the very highly paid supervisors in the dept.
    Rules and regulations were disobeyed. They failed to take care of their men and allowed this. These are not competent people.

  6. Seriously people, go watch a movie or stick to reality TV.
    These are real people with a real training incident.
    When convenient they are heroes… and when convenient they are villains…

    And how very convenient for all the posters to pick and choose.

  7. Some are real heroes with a real training incident that caused a real injury because of real incompetence.

    Incompetence that falls squarely on the lists of supervisors that stood by and didn’t have the common sense to see the dangers of the situation.

    There are other real heroes out there that are held accountable when for instance they are responding to an emergency call and end up wrecking the squad car for one reason or another. Most of those heroes end up with a suspension or reprimand .

    It’s a “Marvel” that the Sheriff’s Office isn’t reporting any discipline coming out of this incident. Maybe because it is yet another cover up orchestrated by the same individuals that have routinely been scrutinized over the last eighteen months in the local blogs.

    I see familiar names again. Miller, Ellis, and Pyle have been named in other incidents of recent memory.

    Real hereos? No!

    Poor representation of real heroes? Yes!

  8. Is Miller on his last leg?? One more suspension and he is terminated? Is Nygren going to do the right thing. Remember that was his campaign slogan!!!!

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