Det. Brittney Hilton, a mother of three who has been with the Bridge City, Texas, Police Department for more than a decade, never had a close call like this.
In December 2020, a bullet came within one millimeter from killing her, but at the time, she had no idea that she was struck. There was a rush of an incredible amount of pain—and a “very sick feeling.”
“I was cold at some points, shaking. The fear kind of takes over, the adrenaline takes over. I just said, ‘Am I going to die?’” Hilton told ABC News.
“I said, ‘Please just tell my kids that I love them and don’t let them find out on social media that I’ve been shot.’ I didn’t know if I was going to make it to the hospital,” she continued.
Bullet From Own Gun
What the detective didn’t realize initially was that the bullet had come from her own service gun—a P320 semi-automatic pistol that is widely used by police departments across the country. According to the police report, the firearm was still holstered inside her purse when it went off.
After gaining this information, Hilton is now suing the gunmaker Sig Sauer. The news outlet added that nine lawsuits are pending against the company for similar claims. The gunmaker, which had previously denied any liability, said in an August 2017 press release that “the P320 meets and exceeds all U.S. standards for safety.”
“I picked up my bag, my keys were on top. As I walked around my desk, my purse swings out and it shoots out the bottom of my bag. And then I took one step, and I felt this pain. It felt like a hot rod of metal had just been placed not only in my private, but through my leg, and it exits out (of) my lower buttocks,” Hilton said.
“Never, in my wildest dreams, would I have believed that my gun would just have shot me. Gun owners don’t want to think that their gun can just go off without the trigger being pulled,” she added.
Hilton added that she still deals with pain from her injury. “There’s never a point that I’m really not in pain unless I’m laying down,” she said.
‘Serious Safety Problem’
Attorney Jeffrey Bagnell, who represents Hilton and several other police officers who have filed lawsuits against Sig Sauer over the P320, contended that “it’s a very, very serious safety problem for law enforcement and for the public at large. I’m not aware of any other semi-automatic pistol today that has this problem.”
According to Hilton’s $15 million lawsuit, “there have been fifty-four reported uncommanded discharges of the P320” over the past five years in twenty-two states and Washington DC.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.