4-year-old Ava Ellis was shot in the leg on Friday by an officer attempting to shoot her family’s dog.  The officer allegedly believed the dog to be charging at him and fired.  Only one shot was fired, which accidentally hit the toddler in her right leg.  She is in stable condition at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and expected to make a full recovery.

The officer, whose identity has not been released to the press, was in the neighborhood responding to reports of a hit-and-run when he was approached by a woman begging for assistance.  According to the woman, her sister had injured herself and required assistance in a nearby residence.

Gary Parsley, the victim of the hit-and-run, recounted the bizarre incident to WBNS.  “She [wanted] medical attention for her sister,” explained Parsley. “That’s why she called [the officer] over.”

The officer went into the home to investigate, and there he claims he was “charged” by the family pet.

When the officer shot at the dog, he missed and instead hit the 4-year-old daughter of the injured woman.  It is unclear whether the bullet struck the child due to poor aim or as the result of a ricochet off of the walls of the home.

The officer was in the doorway when he fired the shot – a threshold that the dog could not pass due to the electric shock sensor attached to its collar.  Following the shooting, the family’s dogs were moved into the backyard while authorities arrived.  The officer retreated back into his police cruiser, described by onlookers as appearing disoriented.

Parsley recounted, “[the gunfire] was very loud. At first I thought maybe he’d shot the dog, because [the injured woman] 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!!’”

Reports are still speculating on why the officer’s first response was to fire at the family pet at all.  The case is reminiscent of the fatal police shooting in Iowa, in which a police officer shot and killed a woman while aiming at her dog.

With over 20 years of experience in cases of police misconduct, particularly police shootings, the Law Offices of Michael S. Lamonsoff is uniquely qualified to represent the victims of cases like this.  If you or a loved one has been involved in a police shooting or has been injured due to police misconduct, call us immediately at (212) 962-1020.  Your initial consultation is absolutely free and will help you weigh your options on how to move forward after such a traumatizing event.