Israeli Officer Shot Dead in Training Accident in Hebron

The 22-year-old platoon commander was conducting an exercise to train soldiers in responding to a knife attack

A Golani officer was killed on Tuesday from a bullet fired accidentally by a soldier during a drill in Hebron.

Platoon commander Lt. David Golovenchick, 22, of Efrat, was conducting a drill without first having his soldiers unload their guns, a preliminary investigation of the incident indicates. Consequently, one of the soldiers inadvertently cocked his gun and shot his commander during the drill.

2nd Lt. David Golovenchik.
Courtesy

A military helicopter was rushed to evacuate the officer to hospital but he was fatally wounded and died shortly afterward.

Golovenchik was buried on Wednesday at the military cemetery on Mount Herzl. Thousands attended the funeral. His brigade commander, Lt. Col. Sivan Bloch, mourned his death and said he excelled as a combatant, “carried out his duty in excellent fashion and looked after his soldiers as though they were his children.”

Golovenchik was exercising how to respond to a terrorist attack with two of his soldiers, it transpired in the inquiry. He then wanted to repeat the exercise and told the soldiers he would take part in it, but did not instruct them to unload their weapons as safety regulations require.

Golovenchik took off his protective gear, went to the post and played the part of a Palestinian undergoing a security check by the soldiers. He turned the table at the post over them and simulated a stabbing attack. Apparently one of the soldiers cocked his gun and shot his commander.

The soldier who fired was expected to be questioned by Military Police on Wednesday. A senior IDF officer said “it appears that it did not happen deliberately.”

The results of the preliminary probe were obtained from conversations the commanders of the Golani and Hebron brigades had with the two soldiers at the post.

The senior officer said mental health officers had met the soldier whose gun had gone off and that he wanted to attend his commander’s funeral. Contrary to earlier reports, the IDF said on Wednesday that the soldiers had known they were taking part in a drill.

The army will probe why the safety regulations were not kept and what led the soldier who had fired to cock his gun.

Following the shooting and the opening of a Military Police investigation, the soldier who fired his gun hired a lawyer to represent him.

In another case of an unintentionally fired bullet that caused serious injury, Brig. Gen. Sharon Afek, the military adjutant general, decided to file charges against the soldier who fired. In the incident, which took place two weeks ago, a soldier from the Kfir Brigade wanted to show his friend a device installed on his gun, and unintentionally fired at him, wounding him badly.

On Thursday the soldier will be indicted for causing grievous injury.

Following the recent incidents, the General Staff Forum will hold a debate on safety in the IDF on Thursday. The chief of staff ordered a halt to all military drills on Thursday from 10 A.M., to be resumed only at the beginning of next week.

“This is a very serious incident and we won’t make any allowances. There are quite a few things to learn from it,” the senior officer told military reporters.