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Former Grand Forks police lieutenant OK after accidental shooting

Byron Sieber, a thirty-one year veteran of the Grand Forks Police Department, became director of the Red River Regional Dispatch Center in Fargo last January. (John Stennes/Grand Forks Herald)

GRAND FORKS -- A former Grand Forks police lieutenant accidentally shot himself in the thigh while preparing to clean his handgun Sunday evening, Lt. Grant Schiller said Monday.

Byron Sieber, 56, was treated and released from Altru Hospital for a wound that was not life threatening. Schiller said the bullet "grazed" the top of Sieber's left thigh near his knee.

"From what I understand, it didn't hit an artery or a bone," Schiller said, adding that the bullet exited Sieber's leg and ricocheted around a room of his Grand Forks home. Schiller said Sieber had just been at the police department's shooting range, qualifying for a conceal-and-carry permit.

Schiller said Sieber was trying to remove the slide of a .40-caliber Glock pistol so he could clean the gun shortly after 6 p.m. To properly release the gun's slide, Schiller said, the ammunition clip should be removed, the chamber emptied and the trigger pulled. Sieber pulled the trigger to remove the slide, but in doing so, he fired a round left in the chamber, Schiller said.

"In order to take this thing apart, you have to dry-fire an empty round," Schiller said of Sieber's Glock pistol, a gun carried by Grand Forks officers.

He described Sieber as a "very no-nonsense kind of guy" who's been around guns for most of his life.

Sieber was with the Grand Forks Police Department for 31 years and served as the city's public information officer during the 1997 flood. In January 2009, he became director of the Red River Regional Dispatch Center in Fargo.