Note: we are republishing this story amid nationwide discussion regarding police accountability and the relationship between police officers and their communities.
“There’s something wrong with Opie,” Vickie Malone’s young son told her as he stared outside the window of their Wynnewood home.
Malone had just brought in the children from outside where they’d been celebrating her 5-year-old’s birthday. They had not yet served ice cream or cake when they heard a bang outside.
A Wynnewood police officer had just shot their family dog, Opie, a three-year-old American Bulldog and Pit Bull mix.
“I would have fun with him when he ran around and we played tag,” Eli told FOX 25.
The adults ran outside, where they found Opie near the fence surrounding their yard. “He [Opie] was over here kicking and gasping for air,” Malone said. The officer had retrieved a high-powered rifle from his vehicle to put down the dog, which he shot two more times while the children watched.
According to the Wynnewood police chief Ken Moore, the officer had told him that the vicious dog attacked him by coming around the corner of the house. He added that the officer tried to kick the dog off him before shooting him.
The chief claimed that he had not seen a video of the aftermath of the shooting, which showed the dog lying dead with its head near the fence, not the house.
Chief Moore explained that the officer was serving a warrant at the time, which gave him legal authority to be on private property. The Malones, however, say that they were never shown any warrant. All they were told was that the officer was looking for someone who had been listed at that address ten years ago.
“He said he was checking to see if a guy name Shon McNiel lived here and no one here has heard of him,” Malone stated. The warrant was from a 10-year-old case, with Chief Moore stating that the Malone house was McNiel’s last known address.
The chief stated that he knew the Malones had lived at the home for the past year, and that the address was a “rent house” where multiple people had “moved in and out” in the past decade. However, he defended the officer, claiming that he “had to start somewhere” as he worked to serve the warrant.
“I respect what the police do, but this was senseless, but he didn’t show any remorse and didn’t even act like he was sorry or anything,” Malone said.
The family believes that their dog could still be alive if the officer had chosen to use less-lethal force or by fact checking the warrant. Eli says he misses his best friend, and has made a small wooden cross to mark the backyard gravesite.
Sources: Fox 25