Ocala police officer killed in firearms training exercise

By John W. Davis and Julie Gargotta, Team Coverage
Last Updated: Tuesday, April 07, 2015, 12:13 PM EDT

Flags are flying at half-staff in Ocala after an officer was killed in an accidental shooting during a firearms training session Monday.

It happened around 3 p.m. during the Ocala Police Department's firearms training at Lowell Correctional Institution's firing range, 11120 NW Gainesville Road.

“He was wearing his bulletproof vest, but the round entered in his arm and went through his chest," said Ocala police Chief Greg Graham. "He was shot in the side, so his vest wouldn’t have helped him."

Officer Jared Forsyth, 33, was transported to Ocala Regional Medical Center in critical condition and immediately taken to surgery. He died several hours later.

Forsyth was hired by the department April 16, 2012.

“Jared was a great guy. He was funny. He had a true servant’s heart," said Graham. "I wish I had a 100 like him. Every time I saw him and talked to him, he put a smile on my face.”

Police said another officer was involved in the shooting. That officer's name has not been released.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has been called in to investigate, which is standard procedure in an officer-involved shooting. Chief Graham said the department will review their own policies and procedures.

“It would be premature for me to say that we’ve done anything wrong necessarily but believe me, I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that something like this doesn’t happen again," said Graham.

Forsyth is survived by his mother and stepfather.