Florida prison officer trainee killed in accidental shooting, officials say

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The Florida Department of Corrections says an officer trainee was killed Thursday in an accidental shooting during firearms training.

The agency identified the trainee as Whitney Cloud. She started working for the state prison system on June 25.

Cloud was assigned to Jefferson Correctional Institution in Jefferson County and had enrolled in training at the Harry K. Singletary Training Academy at Wakulla Correctional Institution in Wakulla County, according to the agency.

No one else was involved in the accidental shooting that fatally wounded Cloud, the agency said. Officials did not release any other details about the shooting, including how it happened, where it happened and what weapon was used.

She was taken to a local hospital for emergency medical treatment and later died there. No one else was injured, the agency said.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the incident.

“We are absolutely devastated by the loss of Officer Whitney Cloud,” said a statement from Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mark Inch. “As a newly hired officer trainee, Officer Cloud vowed to make a difference in the lives of others and protect her community. We are immensely saddened by this unexpected tragedy. Our deepest condolences go out to her loved ones and fellow officers during this extremely difficult time.”

This past week the Florida Department of Corrections said it will close several prisons in North Florida to alleviate a severe staffing shortage. The agency has about 5,000 vacancies for correctional officers.

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