Wounded by His Own Holstered Sig Sauer P320, Veteran Tampa Police Officer Alleges Pistol Fired Without the Trigger Being Touched

The latest complaint involving “dangerously defective semi-automatic handgun”

Tampa, Florida (Noon, July 27, 2021) – A 30-year veteran law enforcement officer with the Tampa Police Department (TPD) today filed a lawsuit against Sig Sauer, Inc., the maker of his department-issued, controversial P320 semi-automatic pistol that fired a live round into his leg – inflicting serious line-of-duty injuries – without the officer ever touching the holstered weapon, according to his legal team from Jeffrey S. Bagnell Law, LLC, Saltz Mongeluzzi & Bendesky, and Gurney Law, PLLC. The complaint asserts claims against the manufacturer for corporate negligence and product liability. They are similar to those filed against Sig Sauer by other officers and agents, some who suffered career-ending gunshot wounds, and civilians against the manufacturer. The attorneys also filed an Emergency Motion asking the Court to immediately preserve and protect the P320 involved, while also seeking P320-related records and reports.

Howard Robert Northrop, 69, a longtime Tampa resident and decorated officer, alleges in the complaint (Northrop v. Sig Sauer, et al. Circuit Court of Florida, 7/27/2021) that his department-issued Sig Sauer P320 wounded him in the leg without ever touching the weapon’s trigger. “It happened February 27, 2020, I was just walking, near bleachers at a local school as students were leaving a game, when suddenly the gun discharged. I felt intense pain, but first thought I was the victim of a shooter. It turns out I was the victim of my Sig Sauer despite never touching the trigger. Every day I replay that moment.

Thank goodness the gun – which Sig said was safer than ever – didn’t kill somebody.” The father of two (one of his sons is a Tampa firefighter), grandfather of six, was hospitalized nearly one week after he was wounded and since the incident has suffered through constant pain and limitations.

He added, “What’s it going to take for Sig Sauer to finally admit the gun isn’t safe and pull it off the market?” He said his son-in-law, a sheriff’s deputy in Florida, just reported the “good news” that his department was discontinuing use of the P320 over serious safety concerns.

Attorney Jeffrey S. Bagnell, of Connecticut’s Bagnell Law, said, “Sig Sauer’s misleading marketing practices are addressed in the complaint. We will demonstrate in court that the company’s claim that its P320 ‘won’t fire unless you want it to’ is inaccurate, and its failure to recall the weapon is putting lives at serious risk every day. Officer Northrop’s wounds and those of many others bear witness to this fact.”

Bob Northrop was performing his duties as a public safety officer that fateful day; his P320 should never have fired, and shouldn’t be capable of firing without a trigger pull. What happened to Officer Northrop could have happened to any of his fellow officers and should never happen again.

Philadelphia attorney Robert W. Zimmerman, of SMB said following today’s filing.

Co-counsel from Saltz Mongeluzzi & Bendesky include the firm’s managing partner, Larry Bendesky, and Daniel Ceisler, an army combat veteran trained in gun safety.

Orlando-based attorney Nicholas S. Gurney, of Gurney Law, PLLC, stated, “Our client, the son of a career law enforcement officer, loved his job and loved serving his community. Not only was his career abruptly ended, but his dreams of a well-deserved, active retirement were dashed when the P320 bullet shattered his leg. An avid outdoorsman, Officer Northrop will very likely face physical limitations and mobility challenges for the rest of his life. Like many clients, Officer Northrop realizes a lawsuit won’t mend his wounds, but he’s hopeful that this case can help prevent more injuries caused by the industry’s most dangerously defective sidearm. We are fearful with more than one million of them remaining in use.”

The officer’s attorneys collectively represent nearly two dozen former users across the U.S. of the Sig Sauer P320 whose weapons fired without touching let alone pulling the trigger. Before today’s filing, a Boston area police lieutenant alleged in a Federal lawsuit last month that his holstered P320 fired while he was in a SWAT van with a group of other officers. The other police-plaintiffs have included a Loudon County, Virginia Sherriff’s Deputy whose career ended in 2018 when her holstered P320 fired, shattering a bone in her leg; an ICE Federal law enforcement agent, wounded in the leg when his holstered P320 discharged while awaiting a turn at the shooting range; an HSI agent whose P320 fired on him at a shooting range. These agents and officers join many other state and federal law enforcement agents advocating for the weapon’s recall in its present forms.


Jeffrey S. Bagnell / jbagnell@bagnell-law.com / 203-984-8820
Robert W. Zimmerman / rzimmerman@smbb.com / 267-872-3430
Nicholas Gurney / nick@gurney.law / 407-554-5757
Steph Rosenfeld / steph@idadvisors.com / 215-514-4101

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