Crime

Police Defend Entering Wrong Home, Shooting Unarmed Homeowner, Killing Dog: 'We Aren't Perfect'

| by Kathryn Schroeder
Chris McKinleyChris McKinley

The investigation into why three DeKalb County, Georgia, police officers opened fire while responding to a burglary call — killing the family dog and shooting the unarmed father of a 1-year-old boy, as well as one of their own officers — is ongoing.

The officers were responding to a burglary call when they entered the wrong home, which belonged to the McKinley family. Officers entered through a reportedly unlocked back door and claim to have "announced their presence by calling out, 'DeKalb police,'" according to the police report obtained by WSB-TV.

Attorney Jeff Brickman, who is representing homeowner Chris McKinley, claims the report is false.

“Nobody ever announced before they came into the house that they were DeKalb police,” Brickman said, according to WSB-TV.

The report also states McKinley “burst out of a closed door with a pit bull that charged at the officers.”

That piece of information is also known to be false, as the family dog who was killed by police was a 10-year-old female Boxer named Yana. They did not own a pit bull.

“It almost makes you think they’re talking about a different case,” McKinley told WSB-TV.

Brickman said the dog was so docile McKinley’s baby boy “would lean over on her like a pillow.”

McKinley also claims to have not rushed into the room to find the officers. Instead, he was watching a movie with his wife and child when they heard a noise and he went to investigate.

McKinley, who police confirmed in their preliminary investigation was unarmed, was shot in the leg.

“Why did they shoot me?” McKinley reportedly asked a neighbor who helped him following the shooting, reported The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Why did they shoot my dog?"

Officer Travis Jones was also shot during the incident by one of his colleagues.

The director of public safety for DeKalb County, Cedric Alexander, blames the mistake of police entering the wrong home on misinformation.

“Are we perfect?” Alexander said, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Absolutely not. But when we find a mistake, we own it. We own the fact that we were at the wrong house. We didn’t hide it. We didn’t mismanage it. We were at the wrong location based on information that was given to us.”

The incident happened in August and the full investigation is ongoing.

“These officers responded the way they were trained to respond based on the information that was given to them,” Alexander said, according to WSB-TV.

“Because no one knows until you put this whole investigation together,” he added. "And then whatever the outcome of that case is, that is what we will go with."

This shooting is the fourth controversial one to occur in DeKalb County in just under two years, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. It joins the others which involved a 16-year-old being mistakenly shot, a man being fatally shot after an officer killed his dog, and the fatal shooting of a 27-year-old Air Force veteran who was apparently suffering a mental breakdown.

Sources: WSB-TV, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution / Photo credit: WSB-TV