Chicago police fired an officer Monday who had shot a family’s dog on its front lawn in front of its 6-year-old owner.
Family members and witnesses have said that the dog was not acting aggressively when it was shot and that the officer, named Robert Norris, did not have a clear reason for killing the animal, who was named Apollo, according to RT.com.
On Friday, police in the suburb called Hometown were alerted that Apollo, a shepherd mix, had escaped the family’s yard. The family said it needed help bringing the dog safely home, according to a statement on Facebook by Police Chief Charles Forsyth.
Norris told to police that he brought the dog back to the house but could not get it inside. At that point, he said the dog growled at him threateningly and started to approach him.
Norris then reportedly took out his gun and fatally shot the animal.
But family members have said they disagree with the officer’s version of events.
One of Apollo’s owners, Nicole Echlin, said that the dog did not become defensive until Norris took out his gun, and that she was not sure why the officer pulled out the weapon in the first place.
“We were in the lawn and the cop already had his gun out,” Echlin told WMAQ. “I tried to call him in the house and he just stood there staring and I guess he showed his teeth and the cop just shot him, right in front of me and my 6-year-old daughter.”
Another witness, Nicco Torres, said that Apollo did not provoke the officer.
“The dog wasn’t doing anything. I didn’t see it doing anything, it wasn’t barking,” Torres said. “Then I saw a cop shoot the dog, the dog fell to ground on the lawn. I saw through the window the dog was on the floor shot but the dog was still moving, it was moving its legs like it was trying to run but it was laying down.”
Kristy Scialabba, Echlin’s sister, said that she thinks the police officer had other options and she did not understand his actions.
“And to shoot a dog in front of a child that’s going to scare her for the rest of her life,” Scialabba said.
Echlin said that her young daughter screamed and fell to the ground when Apollo was shot.
Apollo died at the Animal Welfare League in Chicago Ridge, where Scialabba worked, Saturday morning.
"I'm heartbroken. That was my best friend. It was also my niece's best friend (and she is) traumatized,"Scialabba said to the Chicago Tribune. "It should have never happened."
Source: RT.com, Chicago Tribune, WMAQ