WHITEHALL, Ohio — A young child is in the hospital after being shot by a police officer that was aiming for a dog.
Police spokeswoman Denise Alex-Bouzounis says a Columbus police officer was following up on a hit-and-skip report when a woman approached him and asked for medical assistance. She then says a dog “charged” at the officer, who has not been named, and that the officer then decided to shoot at the dog, but missed and shot a four-year-old girl.
The Columbus Police Department has not named the officer who shot the child. Police say they are investigating the incident themselves. They have not charged the officer with a crime.
A witness to the shooting, Gary Parsley, was the man who had initially filed the complaint about the hit-and-skip. Parsley says he had gone back inside his house when he heard a gunshot just seconds later.
“I did hear the gunshot, it was very loud,” Parsley said. “At first I thought maybe he’d shot the dog, because she was saying something about ‘Why would you try to shoot the dog?’ and he said something like the dog was attacking him, or something like that. Then she started saying ‘You shot my kid!'”
Parsley says he doesn’t understand why the officer shot his gun to begin with.
“[The police officer] was a big guy, and they have tasers and clubs and stuff. I don’t know why you would raise a gun. I really don’t agree with him just pulling his gun out and trying to shoot the dog.”
The young child received treatment at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and is expected to recover from her gunshot wound.
The Columbus Dispatch interviewed the police spokeswoman, and video of that interview is available below: