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Victim shot by off-duty deputy speaks out

Investigations continue into off-duty deputy shooting

Michael Hinsch says he was shot by BSO Deputy Kevin McClernon
Michael Hinsch says he was shot by BSO Deputy Kevin McClernon

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – After allegedly being shot by an off-duty, but in-uniform, Broward County sheriff's deputy in his Hollywood home, Michael Hinsch came home from the hospital Thursday in a wheelchair.

"I was totally unarmed," said 54-year-old Hinsch. "It was the craziest thing I've seen in my life."

BSO Deputy Kevin McClernon was allegedly partying with Hinsch's girlfriend, Lori Babb, at Hinsch's apartment. Hinsch said that when he came home at about 8:45 p.m. he found McClernon in uniform, with his gun belt on his TV stand, drinking Budweiser with Babb.

"There was a cop sitting there drinking a beer," Hinsch said. "I asked him to leave. I didn't get loud or anything. Apparently he was drunk and he shot me."

Babb, who said McClernon is an old friend, also said the shooting was unprovoked. She said she had beers at the Dania Beach Grill with McClernon earlier in the day and that Hinsch went home and changed into uniform before his shift at the Pembroke Park substation before returning to pick her up. She said McClernon gave her cash to buy a six-pack of beer to drink at the apartment on Wiley Street that she and Hinsch share.

"I'm sure when we look into it the truth will come out," said McClernon. "I've done nothing wrong at all."

McClernon, a former BSO training deputy of the year and lieutenant colonel in the Marines, has been suspended with pay while the Hollywood Police Department and BSO investigate the incident. Hinsch said after telling McClernon to leave, McClernon pulled out his gun.

"He had it out of his holster. I'm thinking to myself, what on earth is he pulling it out for?" said Hinsch. "I said, 'Is that a Glock?' He goes, ‘Yeah.' I said, 'Is that a nine or a 40?' And he said, 'It's a nine,' and [pulled the trigger]."

Hinsch said that after the shooting, the deputy offered no assistance.

"He poked his head in the door. I said, ‘Dude, you got to call an ambulance or something,'" said Hinsch. "He just looked at me, lit a cigarette and walked away."

Hinsch, a construction worker, said he felt lucky to be alive.

"It was a well-placed shot," said Hinsch. "It was right near the groin, just missed my femoral artery. I think he was hoping I would bleed out. I'm an old soldier, I know these things. It exited, missed my sciatic nerve and my femur."