Off-duty Oakland cop shoots self by accident, police say

An off-duty Oakland police officer is recovering after he apparently shot himself by accident while off-duty after having dinner in San Leandro, police said.

But there are many unanswered questions surrounding the circumstances of the shooting, including the whereabouts of the officer's personal weapon that was used. 

The officer, who wasn't identified, shot himself in the chest in the parking lot of the Chili's restaurant at the Bayfair Mall over the weekend, said San Leandro police Lt. Isaac Benabou.

But the officer didn't stay put. He ended up at his girlfriend's apartment in San Leandro, and she called police at about 8:55 p.m. Saturday.

The woman "stated that her boyfriend, an off-duty Oakland police officer, was suffering from a single gunshot wound" to the chest, Benabou said.

Paramedics took the officer to a local hospital, where he underwent surgery and was expected to recover, authorities said.

"He was alert, he was oriented," Benabou said. "He wastalking with the officers who immediately provided first aid while paramedics were en route."

San Leandro police determined that the officer had accidentally shot himself in the parking lot of Chili's after having dinner with an acquaintance.

"This appears to be a self-inflicted, accidental discharge by the off-duty officer," Benabou said.

While reporting on the story, a KTVU crew found the spent shell casing in the parking lot of the restaurant and turned it over to police.

"Our friends in the media found it while at the scene, and that's very helpful. You know, it's like trying to find a needle in a haystack sometimes. We have efforts, we put officers out there, looking for evidence, and it's very common that we can miss items like that."

But what hasn't been found is the officer's personal weapon that was used in the shooting, which police said was troubling.

It's unclear whether the officer could face criminal charges or administrative sanctions by the Oakland Police Department, which declined to discuss the incident on Monday.