An Oklahoma police officer shot and killed a 5-year-old boy’s dog during the child’s birthday party.
Birthday boy Eli Malone and several other children had gone inside for birthday cake when they heard a loud bang, the Daily Mail reports. Eli looked out the window and saw his dog, Opie, bleeding on the ground.
Eli’s mother, Vickie Malone, said her son came to her crying, “There’s something wrong with Opie.”
The adults in the home ran outside and found the 3-year-old American bulldog-pit bull mix “kicking and gasping for air.”
The officer, later identified as Wynnewood Police Officer Josh Franklin, used a high-powered rifle he got from his car to shoot Opie as the children looked on.
Vickie’s son and Opie’s owner, Rio Youngblood, asked the officer, “Why’d you shoot my dog?”
“He walks slowly out to his car gets an AR-15 and points it at the dog and pulls the trigger,” said Youngblood. “He fires another round and it ended my dog’s life. He lowered his head and drove off.”
- “The kids were all watching through the window,” said Vickie.
The officer initially claimed the family the dog tried to attack him through the fence as a reason for the shooting. Wynnewood Police Chief Ken Moore claims Opie was vicious and that he charged the officer, claiming the shooting was justified.
A video recording showed Opie lying on the ground near the fence, with his head surrounded by blood.
“The dog cannot jump the fence,” says Vickie. “The gates to our yard are tied with wire and shoe string. The dog could maybe have gotten his head through the fence but he wouldn’t have been able to open it.”
At the time of the shooting, Franklin was serving a warrant for Shon McNiel from a 10-year-old case, listing the Malones’ house as the suspect’s last known address, according to KOKH.
The family said the officer did not show them a warrant after he told them he shot Opie. “He said that he was looking for Shon McNiel,” says Vickie. “I said, ‘There’s no one here named Shon McNiel. Who the hell is Shon McNiel?’”
Court records indicate McNiel’s last known address was not the Malones’ house but instead a home on a nearby street, according to KOKH.
The Malone family is still waiting for an explanation, as well as an apology from the police department.
The Wynnewood mayor said the incident will be discussed at the next city council meeting and that Franklin has had previous questionable actions reported against him.