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Boston police officer’s gun goes off in struggle with drug suspect

A Boston man is being held on $50,000 cash bail after an early morning scuffle with a police officer caused the officer’s gun to fire, authorities said Thursday.

An officer approached Reginald Gardner, 24, at about 1 a.m. Thursday after noticing Gardner allegedly behaving in a suspicious manner near the intersection of Elmer and Sedalia roads in Dorchester, according to Officer James Kenneally, a Boston police spokesman.

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Gardner allegedly pushed the officer away and attempted to flee on foot and jump over a fence, Kenneally said. The officer caught up with Gardner and police said an altercation ensued.

As the men struggled, Gardner allegedly reached for the officer’s handgun and it discharged, but no one was hit by the bullet, Kenneally said.

The officer subdued and arrested Gardner, according to Kenneally. A search of the area where the men struggled allegedly revealed a plastic bag containing six individually wrapped cocaine rocks, police said, and Gardner was allegedly found to be carrying close to $3,000 in cash.

An ambulance took the officer to Brigham and Women’s Hospital for treatment of injuries suffered in the struggle that were not considered life threatening, Kenneally said. Gardner was not hurt, police said.

Kenneally said the officer, whom he did not name, was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation, as is protocol when an officer’s weapon is fired.

Gardner pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Thursday in Dorchester Municipal Court on charges of assault and battery on a police officer, attempted larceny of a firearm, and possession of a Class B narcotic with intent to distribute, authorities said.

A judge set Gardner’s bail at $50,000 cash, said Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley.

As of Thursday evening, Gardner had not posted bail and remained in custody at the Nashua Street Jail, said Peter Van Delft, a spokesman for Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins.

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.
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