OLNEY, Md. (WJLA) - A Metropolitan Police Department officer is facing jail time; the 23-year veteran of the force, turned into authorities by his ex-girlfriend.
Last month, the Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office charged officer Jose Magana, 48, with one count of Firearms Accessible By Minors. Magana, who'd been living with his estranged girlfriend and her two children, reportedly left his service weapon in an open drawer, fully loaded, in reach of minors.
According to charging documents filed in Montgomery County District Court, Magana's girlfriend had repeatedly asked the third shift officer to store his Glock 9mm handgun in one of two safes located inside her Olney townhome. Yet over the course of four years of cohabitation, Magana allegedly ignored those requests, leaving a loaded gun "on his bed," "in a nightstand drawer," and "on the floor."
In early March, Magana's girlfriend issued a final warning, but only days later, another incident took place - and this time, during her daughter's afternoon play date. Court paperwork states the girls, ages three and eight, were playing a game of hide-and-seek that tiptoed into Magana's bedroom where his MPD weapon was found, "fully loaded with a round in the chamber." MPD policy states sworn officers should not allow anyone access to their service weapon.
"I just don't see why a person would leave a loaded gun around children, knowing what could happen," neighbor Barron Harris said. "I don't have any words for it."
Magana, who's listed on the MPD's website as a core member of its Latino Liaison Unit, has since moved to an apartment along the 18500 block of Boysenberry Drive in Gaithersburg. The 48-year-old did not answer repeated knocks at the door or return phone calls seeking comment. However, he told investigators he was framed, suggesting his ex removed the Glock 9mm from a secure safe, placing it in the open drawer.
"I wouldn't expect a police officer to leave his gun out," neighbor Keena Addison remarked. "Maybe a hunter or a truck driver, but a police officer you'd think would be more responsible."
A spokesman with the Metropolitan Police Department offered little information about the ongoing criminal and internal investigation, but emailed ABC7 saying:
"We've worked closely with investigators. The internal investigation is still on-going at this time. The officer in question, Jose Magana, was immediately placed on non-contact status pending the outcome of the investigation," MPD Officer Araz Alali commented.
Montgomery County Police have crossed paths with Magana before. In January 2010, patrol officers were dispatched to his home after he discharged a rifle while mishandling it. Two months later, in March 2010, records show six firearms were stolen from his home. Police later confiscated three of the weapons from criminals caught committing crimes across the Metro area. The other three guns were never recovered.
The 5'10" 250 pound officer appeared in court on April 17 for an initial appearance. He's due back in Montgomery County District Court on June 3, at 8:30 a.m.
"Even having kitchen knives out is kind of scary, so having a fully loaded gun, that's crazy. It's like a game of russian roulette," Addison concluded.