At approximately 11:30 a.m., October 16, 1956, Patrol Inspector John A. Rector was accidentally shot by the firing of a .357 Magnum revolver by a fellow officer. The mishap occurred at the Chula Vista Sector Headquarters, where two officers were discussing various guns and their limitations and advantages. During the course of the conversation, the .357 Magnum was unloaded, examined, then reloaded, and placed in a desk drawer. The two officers then examined a .22 revolver and soon the discussion returned to the .357 Magnum. At this point, one of the officers reached into the desk drawer, picked up the pistol, and without realizing that it had been reloaded, pulled the trigger.
The bullet passed through a partition wall into Patrol Inspector Rector's office, where it struck him in the left jaw and ranged up through his head. Upon arrival of an ambulance and a doctor, Patrol Inspector Rector was removed to the Paradise Valley Hospital in National City. Two neurosurgeons from San Diego were called; however, nothing could be done for Inspector Rector. He died at approximately 2:00 p.m. the same day.