Officer Aims for Dog, Hits Child Instead

4-year-old in stable condition
By Brownie Marie,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2015 9:25 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Columbus, Ohio, neighborhood is shaken after a police officer accidentally shot a child over the weekend. Officer Jonathan Thomas was investigating an alleged hit-and-run Friday afternoon when an injured person was reported at a nearby home, the Columbus Dispatch reports. According to a police spokesperson, a dog charged at Thomas when he approached the doorway, and the officer fired his weapon—but missed the dog. It's not clear whether the five-year veteran hit four-year-old Ava Ellis directly or if the bullet ricocheted, but the little girl was struck in the right leg. No other shots were fired, and the officer was not injured.

The family of the injured girl has two dogs, but they were bound inside the house by shock collars, one neighbor tells the Dispatch; the charging dog is said to be a 40-pound mixed breed. "Dogs don't know the difference between a police officer or not," another neighbor, who also has kids in his home, tells NBC4. "They don't know a uniform. Dogs see a strange man that doesn't belong in the house." Ava was taken to Nationwide Children's Hospital, and is reportedly in stable condition. The injured person that Officer Thomas was originally summoned to help was Ava’s mother, Andrea, who was transported to OhioHealth Grant Medical Center; she had cut herself.

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