Danvers Police Department continues its investigation into the discharge of an officer's firearm during the swatting incident at St. John's Prep on Monday, May 22, 2023. The Danvers Police Emergency Center received a report that an individual in a bathroom on the St. John's Prep Campus possessed a long gun and intended to harm students.
Although the incident is still under investigation, a preliminary review of the incident has revealed that the first arriving officers, consisting of two School Resource Officers, a Detective, and a patrol officer, arrived on campus less than two minutes after being dispatched. This team of officers entered Benjamin Hall and proceeded to the first-floor men's bathroom. A three-officer team entered the bathroom to clear potential threats while a fourth officer maintained a position in the hallway. As the three officers exited the first-floor bathroom, one of the officers began holstering his firearm. The officer reported that as he did, his index finger was extended along the side of the barrel, which is consistent with his training, and that a secondary piece of equipment interfered with the holstering process, resulting in a single shot being discharged and striking the bathroom tile floor next to the officer's foot.
The officer has been identified as Detective Christopher Gaffney, an eleven-year veteran of the Danvers Police Department. Detective Gaffney has been assigned to the Criminal Investigation division since September 2019.
There were no students or faculty in the bathroom or the immediate area of the bathroom at the time of the discharge. None of the officers sustained any injuries.
Danvers Police continues to investigate this incident thoroughly and is awaiting additional documentation from the Massachusetts State Police Ballistics Unit to supplement both the incident report filed by the officer as well as an internal review by the Operations Captain. Upon completion, the department will request an independent review by the Essex County District Attorney's Office.
Since Monday, the department has and continues to participate in after-action reviews with various stakeholders and experts. The department will use the information gained from these reviews and information learned from the investigation to take any corrective actions and recommended training deemed appropriate.
We recognize that Monday’s events at St. John’s Prep caused a significant amount of fear and angst for not only those present at the Prep that day, but also to our broader community. We are confident that we can take the lessons learned from these events and work together to effect change that will further ensure the safety of our schools and community. We thank you for your continued support.