When someone is in trouble, you’re supposed to call 911. But in one case, that decision has made things for one family a little bit worse.
Around 6 p.m. on Dec. 30, Danielle Maples of Wichita, Kansas called 911 seeking help. Her husband had a gun and was threatening to hurt himself.
The 33-year-old man had already choked the family dog. With four young children in the home, Maples was able to convince her husband to go outside — without the gun.
By the time police arrived, her husband was waiting and ready to cooperate. The plan was to take him for a mental evaluation and hopefully get him the support that he needed.
After a chat with both Maples and her husband, Wichita police officers entered the house to secure the gun. Then, things took a turn.
The next thing Maples heard were two shots followed by a loud scream. According to police officers, the dog charged at a yet-to-be-identified officer who, in turn, fired two rounds.
The rounds, however, missed, hit the floor, and ricocheted back into the environment full of children.
The department admits that one bullet fragment hit the face of a 9-year-old girl who was in the house.
The family’s lawyer, Charley O’Hara, disputes this account and says that three bullet fragments were extracted from the child. In either account, the child is ok and expected to make a full recovery.
“I think we all need to look at the judgement being done by our police officers here and where they’re getting they can act like this,” O’Hara commented.
Police Chief Gordon Ramsey has contacted the family to offer apologies, and spoke with KWCH by phone where he expressed that he’d seen the body-cam footage and was “concerned.”
Understandably, Maples is devastated that her attempt to keep her family safe inexplicably failed. She is outraged that the officer would open fire inside an enclosed space where small children were present.
Per department protocol, the officer has been placed on Administrative Leave pending a full investigation.
The incident will be reviewed internally by the police department as well as externally by the District Attorney’s office.
Personally, I cannot imagine what danger — at a distance — a dog could pose to an officer that justifies opening fire at it in a room with small children.
One’s firearm should be used with great discretion and reverence, not as a first line of defense.
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