DeKalb County police officers responded to the wrong home Monday and shot an unarmed man, killed his dog, and wounded one of their own brothers in blue. But according to local officials, criticism of the event is “just unfair.”
A call came in of a potential burglar outside “the farthest house at the end of the street.” Three responding police officers stopped instead at Chris and Leah McKinley’s residence, the second house on the street. When Chris opened the door to see what his dog was barking at, the police opened fire.
“I hear Leah screaming, I see Chris walking out, ‘They just shot me, they just shot me, and they killed my dog,’” said Tama Colson, a neighbor who witnessed the aftermath of the shooting “So I got him to lay down, took my shirt off and rendered first aid. And Chris just kept saying, ‘Why did you shoot me? Why did they shoot my dog?’”
It’s unclear how many shots were fired, but according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the officers entered through a “reportedly unlocked rear door” and fired their weapons after they “encountered a dog.”
During the shooting, Chris was struck in the leg, his dog was killed, and Officer Travis Jones was shot in the hip by friendly fire. Chris’ wife and 1-year-old daughter were also in the room at the time of the shooting but were not injured.
This marks the fourth controversial shooting by the DeKalb County police department in the last four years, and while DeKalb director of public safety Cedric Alexander recognizes the department is by no means “perfect,” he wasn’t exactly apologetic.
“Are we perfect?” said Alexander. “Absolutely not. But when we find a mistake, we own it. We own the fact that we were at the wrong house. We didn’t hide it. We didn’t mismanage it. We were at the wrong location based on information that was given to us.”
Alexander said the public shouldn’t be “speculating or assuming anything at this point,” adding that an investigation needs to be conducted because “there was a police officer who was severely injured and had a great deal of blood lost.”
Alexander extended his prayers to the officer and homeowner. He also defended the DeKalb County police officers because they “have a tough job.”
“In light of everything going on in the country right now, anytime officers have to respond to a call, they’re checking and double checking themselves,” said Alexander. “A lot of the criticisms and mockeries they’ve sustained across the country and even locally is just unfair.”
Police certainly have one of the most difficult jobs in the world, and it’s hard to argue that sometimes they get a bad rap, but most would agree the wrong-house shooting of an unarmed man in front of his wife and 1-year-old daughter and the killing of his dog is more unfair than the “criticism” of the officers involved.
(This article was a submission from freelance writer Brent Rogers)