Off-duty LMPD officer fires shot through window that lands in woman's bedroom

Home pierced by bullet of off-duty officer; no charges filed
Radcliff Police did not charge the off-duty officer who accidentally discharged his weapon. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Radcliff Police did not charge the off-duty officer who accidentally discharged his weapon. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

RADCLIFF, KY (WAVE) - An off-duty officer who serves with the Louisville Metro Police Department was responsible for a stray bullet that broke through a window and landed in a woman's bedroom.

Radcliff Police deemed the incident an accident and closed the case, but for the homeowner, there is no closure.

The off-duty officer, Joseph Howell, told investigators he was cleaning his service weapon when it accidentally went off. This happened July 26.

The bullet went through the officer's home, into the woman's bedroom and pierced the headboard of her bed. The room still gives her anxiety and she said indifference from the police department is confusing.

"That doesn't make sense at all," she said. "He is a professional. How does he not realize that there is a bullet left inside the magazine?"

The woman whose home was hit doesn't want to share her name or face. She's a mother and wife, and just moved to Radcliff.

"I just know where I am at is not normal -- it has disrupted my peace," she said.

At the time of the incident, two Radcliff officers responded to her home.

"The officer said it was pretty much an open-close case," she said. "And that hurt my feelings because if this were reversed, I feel like I would have been arrested or charged with something."

LMPD said Howell began as a recruit in 2012. Now he's a detective.

Radcliff Police closed their case and no charges were filed against Howell.

"They say they didn't know each other personally, and they may not have but you know there is a code and I feel like he does have the upper-hand," the homeowner said.

LMPD opened a Professional Standards Unit investigation involving Howell.

This woman has little hope for any kind of consequences.

"This shouldn't be a slap on the wrist," she said. "This shouldn't be a mere accident. He should definitely have some more training so that it won't happen again."

The woman said she had never experienced gunfire and is looking for some type of comfort.

Radcliff Police consulted with the Hardin County Attorney's Office, who did not believe there was malicious intent in this case.

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