A Chicago police officer’s gun discharged while he was being restrained by a sergeant during a struggle with his wife during which she allegedly spit at him, prosecutors said Monday.
Allan Niswander, a 13-year veteran of the force, fired his service weapon and hit his wife, Angela Niswander, in the face and shoulder on the night of Feb. 13, Assistant State’s Attorney Gregg Pane said in court.
The officer’s wife, who has been suspended without pay since the incident, told police her husband had pointed the gun at her, according to court documents. The officer said she bit his fingers to stop him from pulling the trigger, court documents say. He told police his wife bit him on the testicles and pushed his head down, causing him to lose his grip.
The officer’s wife is on a paid leave after a psychological evaluation found she suffered from depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, which led to suicidal thoughts, prosecutors said. Pane said Angela Niswander, 34, was not evaluated prior to the shooting. She has been charged with aggravated battery and domestic battery.
Niswander and his wife both said in 911 calls that they didn’t know how the officer accidentally discharged the gun and that he had been arrested previously for domestic violence, Pane said.
Niswander, 33, had previously told the FBI that he shot his wife during a struggle but later changed his story to one in which he took his weapon out by accident and pulled the trigger, court documents say. A month after the shooting, Niswander told Chicago police he accidentally took his gun out of his holster by accident and accidentally shot his wife, Pane said.
The officer took the .40-caliber Glock before his wife, who had been charged with misdemeanor domestic battery for allegedly slapping him in the face and throwing things at him during the incident, Pane said. Angela Niswander declined a request for comment outside court.
Authorities have declined to say if the gun was loaded. They say Niswander’s wife retrieved the gun, which fired when the officer tried to deploy a Taser.
Judge Margaret Balicki ordered Angela Niswander held on $10,000 bail. A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for April 18.
Niswander was suspended for 30 days without pay in March 2016 for shoving his wife into a car, knocking her unconscious, Chicago police said. He was fired after his earlier arrest for domestic battery.
The incident was one of a handful of domestic violence incidents by Chicago police officers in recent years.
An officer was charged with misdemeanor battery and domestic battery in January after he allegedly ran his girlfriend’s head into a wall and slapped her face at their apartment. Officials suspended him for one day.
In December 2016, investigators in Cook County charged Officer Timothy Curcio for stealing $12 worth of medication and assaulting his girlfriend.
Last year, a Chicago police officer was charged with murder for killing a burglary suspect. The Chicago Police Department filed a complaint against Jeremiah Riggins in 2016 for impeding police investigations in the case.