Kedra v. Schroeter, No. 16-1417 (3d Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Pennsylvania State Trooper Kendra, age 26, attended routine firearm safety training led by then-Corporal Schroeter, a trained firearms instructor who had been a police officer for about 20 years. Schroeter had acknowledged in writing a list of firearms safety rules for instructors, including several rules for verifying that guns are not loaded, Schroeter violated each of these rules, raised a gun, pointed it at Kedra, and pulled the trigger. The gun was loaded. Kendra died hours later. Schroeter pled guilty in state court to five counts of reckless endangerment of another person. Kedra’s mother filed a federal civil rights complaint against Schroeter. Because the complaint did not allege that Schroeter had actual knowledge that there was a bullet in the gun, the district court held that Schroeter was entitled to qualified immunity. The Third Circuit reversed. While the objective theory of deliberate indifference was not clearly established at the time of the shooting, obviousness of risk is relevant to proving actual knowledge and the allegations of the complaint were more than sufficient to support a reasonable inference that Schroeter had such knowledge, so the complaint adequately pleaded a state-created danger claim under a then-clearly established theory of liability.