Police officer shot during training remains in induced coma

Published: Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 08:46 PM.

A police officer who was shot in the sternum while training outside the department Wednesday morning remained in a medically induced coma at Vidant Medical Center Thursday afternoon, hospital officials and the victim’s family confirmed.

 A fellow officer fired a bullet Wednesday during a training exercise that shattered 22-year-old Garrett Hardin’s sternum and ruptured three lobes of his lung, said Lee Anne Flanagan, Hardin’s aunt.

Flanagan’s words were subdued as she recalled the doctors’ decision to induce Hardin’s coma to preserve his health. Hardin, a Havelock High graduate, underwent extensive surgery Wednesday, she said, to remove bullet and bone fragment-riddled tissue scattered in his right lung. But she was uncertain how much tissue had to be removed.

“He has to be very still right now,” she said, adding that he will be in a coma for a few days.

Thursday afternoon, the family remained optimistic.

“Infection is our biggest fear right now,” she said.

Flanagan said it is her understanding that the training exercise was not intended to accompany ammunition and the shooting, which occurred in the parking lot of the police department, stemmed from an uncleared weapon’s chamber.

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