A sheriff’s deputy sergeant in the Fresno area died on Halloween after being hit by a bullet in the chest in what was described as a “tragic accidental shooting,” authorities said Tuesday evening.
Deputy Sgt. Rod Lucas, 46, and three other people were in the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office — located near the Fresno Airport — around 3:40 p.m. Monday when the incident took place, the agency stated in a news release.
Lucas was discussing how to carry a backup weapon with a detective, who had his firearm out. During the course of the conversation, the detective’s gun fired off one round, striking Lucas in the chest, the release stated.
CPR was performed in the office before Lucas was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced deceased, according to officials.
Lucas, a 20-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, began his career there in September 1996. He worked in patrol, with the Office’s Chaplaincy Program, and for many years worked as a narcotics detective, the release said.
In 2008, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant.
Lucas was married with four children, between the ages of 28 and 12, and also had one grandchild.
An investigation into the shooting is underway, and authorities were still working to determine what caused the weapon to fire.
“We do not yet know the mechanics of how the weapon was discharged and do not want to speculate until all interviews and the investigation is complete,” the office stated in the release. “So far, we have absolutely no reason to believe this was nothing more than a tragic accidental shooting.”
Authorities have not identified the detective, who has been described only as a 9-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office.
Lucas is the 12th person to die while on duty since the establishment of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office in 1856.
A memorial fund has been set up by the Fresno Deputy Sheriff’s Association, the release said.
Anyone who would like to donate is asked to make a check payable to the Fresno Deputy Sheriff’s Association, and to write “Rod Lucas Memorial Fund” in the memo column.
Checks can be mailed to:
1360 Van Ness Avenue
Fresno, CA 93721