Another Premature Discharge

" Another Premature Discharge"

By Dick Mauer

Sometime in Late 1966 in the back room of the old Calexico Station
(behind the Calexico Port of Entry) nearing afternoon shift change,
Supervisory Patrol Inspector Bob Owens was practicing the new Quarterly
Qualification course of fire just received from Central Office. SPI
Owens (who was soon to retire) had been assigned to conduct the next
days Quarterly Quals at the river bottom pistol range in Calexico and
wanted to make sure he was familiar with the new course of fire. The
various stages of fire, barricade right and left, strong hand, weak
hand, etc. were new to Owens and he wanted it to go without a hitch (and
possible rebuke from Station Senior Tom Carnes). Owens had finished his
rehearsal when the afternoon shift started coming in and someone asked
Bob about one of the new positions. Bob dropped to a knee to demonstrate
and put a round through the back door. YIKES, He had reloaded after his
earlier practice and forgot!

The ancient building that was our station, was, like I said, the
backside of the POE, and had actually been condemned by the Calexico
Fire Department before the Border Patrol happily took it over. The back
door looked right out onto Calle Revolucion in Mexicali. The door was
about 150 feet from the Mexican side of the port and was always crowded
with people and cars.  The blast from the .357 caused dust to rise from
every crack (and there were a lot of cracks) and brought Mr. Tom Carnes
storming out of his front office. When he determined what had happened,
all he said was, "Bob, you better go see who you killed". We cracked the
back door to look out and, miraculously, the street was empty. When we
observed no body laying on the sidewalk and with no sirens being heard,
we closed the door and went for coffee. The good old days!