Ohio Officer Attempts To Shoot Dog, Hits And Injures 4-Year-Old Girl Instead [Video]

How exactly does an Ohio officer go from a hit-and-run response to shooting a 4-year-old girl? That's the question on the minds of many Whitehall, Ohio natives after a bizarre incident sent a young child to the hospital.

Gary Parsley, the victim of a hit-and-run, said that an officer from the Columbus Police Department came to his residence to follow-up on the case. As the officer left the victim's home, an unknown woman approached, asking for help. "She [wanted] medical attention for her sister," explained Parsley. "That's why she called [the officer] over."

The man told WBNS that he hadn't been in his home more than a few seconds before he heard what sounded like gunfire.

"It was very loud. 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!!'"
The Dispatch reports that the officer went to the home of Andrea Ellis, who had accidentally cut herself. When the law enforcement official arrived at the doorway of the residence, the family dog charged him. For reasons that the family is still trying to understand, the officer immediately responded by shooting at the dog. The bullet missed the family pet and instead hit 4-year-old Ava Ellis in the leg.

Columbus Police Department spokeswoman Denise Alex-Bouzounis confirmed that the police officer, whose identity has been withheld, only fired once. While it's clear that he missed the dog altogether, news sources have not been able to confirm whether the officer hit the child directly or if Ava was injured.

Neighbors immediately called 911. Police and first-responders were said to have responded in minutes. Ava Ellis was wrapped in a blanket and taken to Nationwide Children's Hospital. The girl was said to be in stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery.

Witnesses say that the officer seemed "a little disoriented" upon returning to his vehicle. The CPD said that the department was investigating the incident.

Gary told reporters that he didn't understand the need to try to fatally shoot the family's dog.

"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 family claimed that the two dogs (only one reportedly charged the officer) were on shock collars and could not leave the home. They declined to answer questions about the size and breed of the dog, aside from clarifying that it is a "mutt."

Do you think the policeman was wrong to attempt to shoot the dog? As the officer reportedly had non-lethal weapons available to him, why do you think he reacted the way he did? Please share your thoughts below!

[Image Credit: NBC 4/NewsTV YouTube]