A state police firearms instructor who accidentally shot and killed a fellow trooper is now facing a civil suit filed in U.S. District Court by the trooper’s family.
Nearly a year ago, on Sept. 30, Richard Schroeter, was demonstrating a handgun for a class in Plymouth Township when he pointed the muzzle at Trooper David Kedra and squeezed the trigger. A bullet was in the chamber. Kedra, 26, later died of a gunshot wound to his abdomen at Temple University Hospital.
Kedra’s mother filed the suit in Philadelphia on Sept. 18. The suit argues that Schroeter violated Kedra’s constitutional rights by his “deliberately indifferent conduct in circumstances in which he was not required to act under any pressure or stress.” The filing seeks unspecified monetary damages.
Schroeter, a 23-year veteran of the force who retired shortly after the incident, was not charged with manslaughter. He took responsibility for the shooting and pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment. The 43-year-old former trooper was sentenced last month to two weeks in jail and up to 18 months of house arrest.
Kedra’s family took the sentence as a slap in the face.
“Two weeks? My brother’s life is worth two weeks?” Kedra’s sister Christine shouted at the prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Samantha Cauffman, outside the Montgomery County courtroom after Schroeter was sentenced.
The suit contends that as an instructor, Schroeter was well acquainted with firearm safety rules on Sept. 30, 2014, the day of the shooting. According to the suit, Schroeter’s critical violations included failing to conduct a proper safety check before using the handgun for training purposes, failing to determine if the gun was loaded, pointing the firearm at another person, and failing to keep his finger off the weapon’s trigger unless firing at a safe target.
According to online prison records, Schroeter, will complete the last day of his two week jail term on Friday.
The Kedra family’s attorney, Gerald J. Williams, did not respond to a request for comment.
From The Morning Call