SADDLE BROOK, N.J. -- A bullet fired from its casing when a Saddle Brook police officer dropped it while getting out of his car at headquarters Monday morning.
No one was struck by the .40-caliber Smith and Wesson bullet, Police Chief Robert Kugler said.
"It was a one-in-a-million shot," he said.
The rookie officer was on a call when the magazine to his service weapon came apart, the chief said.
"The bottom clip fell off and then the spring, and the rounds fell out," he said.
The officer collected the pieces, along with the rounds, and put them in his car, then returned to headquarters on Market Street.
"As he's getting out of his car, one of the rounds drops on the ground, hits the primer -- and boom!" Kugler said.
The officerretrieved the spent shell casing ( see photo, above ), but the bullet itself proved more elusive.
"Going through a barrel it would go a distance," the chief said, "but dropping on the ground, it could have rolled 20 to 50 feet away."
Kugler said he's going to explore whether being left-handed had anything to do with the accident.
Another left-handed officer had a magazine come apart recently, he said.
"Perhaps the butt of the gun is hitting the door jamb," the chief said. "We don't know at this point."
There's no investigation or discipline considered, given that the bullet wasn't fired from a weapon, Kugler said.
"By the grace of God, the officer and no one else was struck," he said. "That's all that matters."