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article image'Startled' San Diego deputy accidentally shoots woman

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By Brett Wilkins     Aug 23, 2012 in Crime
Spring Valley - A single mother and Navy veteran was accidentally shot in her own California backyard by a "startled" sheriff's deputy responding to a 911 call.
Jennifer Orey, 36, heard there was a masked man prowling her Spring Valley neighborhood last Sunday night. The former Navy Air and Sea Rescue team member looked around her house to see if she could find any details to share with police investigators.
That's when things went horribly wrong. According to KSWB, San Diego County Sheriff's deputies entered Orey's backyard without warning. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Orey bumped into someone carrying a flashlight and identified herself as the homeowner.
That's when Deputy Luke Berhalter shot Orey at point-blank range.
"He fired without warning, saying 'freeze,' or anything," James Morgan, the victim's brother, told KSWB.
Before lapsing into shock, Orey was able to question her shooter about why he shot her.
"I'm sorry, you startled me," he allegedly replied.
The San Diego Sheriff's Department then reported that Orey was shot in the shoulder and being treated for minor injuries. This, her family says, is not true-- Orey's injuries were much more serious.
"The bullet went through her chest and her left nipple, into her shoulder and out her pinkie," Morgan told KSWB.
"I feel they [SDCSD] are trying to cover up their mistakes," he added. "They know the truth. They just don't want to admit it. All we want is for them to own up to their mistake and be responsible just like anybody else."
The District Attorney's Office is now investigating the shooting. Deputy Berhalter has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
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