Ohio Hero Misses Dog – Shoots Four Year Old

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All that “training” and these Heroes still can’t shoot straight… 

A lawsuit filed by the parents of a 4-year-old girl who was accidentally shot in the thigh by an Ohio cop aiming for a dog will be settled for $780,000.

With taxpayers (not the can’t-shoot-straight Hero) footing the bill.

Columbus Hero Jonathan Thomas was trying to shoot the family’s dog in June 2015 after he responded to Chandler Drive in Whitehall to talk with a person who had been injured during a hit-and-run incident.girl-shot

Thomas was walking back from his patrol car when someone called out to him that a woman, Andrea Ellis, had cut herself. What happened next would result in the woman’s 4-year-old daughter Ava being shot in the right leg.

“As the door was open there were children [in the house] and as Thomas went to the house, a dog approached him and the dog ran away,” Columbus City Attorney Richard C. Pfeiffer Jr. said.

As “a second dog came and the officer felt threatened… he took out his revolver and shot at the dog,” Pfeiffer continued. Instead of hitting the animal however, Thomas hit 4-year-old Ava. The 40-pound bulldog mix was not injured and neither was the officer.

Ava spent nine days in the hospital and accumulated more than $250,000 in medical bills because of the wound. She suffered scarring and still requires additional surgeries.

“She asked me several times, ‘Mommy, am I gonna die?’” Andrea Ellis said.

Following the incident, an internal probe launched by Columbus police found that Thomas violated procedures about discharging his firearm in the home. Retraining and a short suspension was recommended but the officer is appealing the disciplinary decision.

Predictably, the president of Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge No. 9, Jason Pappas, said Thomas did nothing wrong and had no choice but to fire at the animal.

“This is an unfortunate incident, but the officer was within his right to use force to subdue that dog,” Pappas said. “The dog was presenting a threat to the officer and he was within his right to discharge his firearm.”

On Monday, the Columbus City Council unanimously approved a payment of $780,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by Ava’s parents with zero discussion.

Attorney’s representing the girl were seeking $1.6 million but Pfeiffer said that because the city feared a jury award of much more money, it was decided that it was best to offer the settlement.

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Author of "Automotive Atrocities" and "Road Hogs" (MBI). Currently living amongst the Edentulites in rural SW Virginia.

21 COMMENTS

  1. This is what galls me, if it were anyone who were not dressed in a blue costume that had fired a shot in a residential neighborhood like that (let alone hit a dog or a person), there would be IMMEDIATE criminal prosecution. Let’s take this a step further, if a dog had wandered onto my property and was being aggressive towards myself and my kids (this has happened), and had I taken my .357 and plugged the clearly aggressive animal on my own property, I STILL would have to deal with possible prosecution, and very likely having my handgun seized. How the fuck do these ‘heroes’ get away with unloading into someones home like this? I mean, this is beyond reckless. As others who have mentioned having a previous ‘career’ as paperboy, when I was one had to deal with asinine large dogs, and, it never required a .45.

    Something has got to change. Although I don’t condone violence, given all the recent police brutality (and privilege) I really couldn’t muster any ‘tears’ for the fallen ‘heroes’ in Dallas a couple months back — even if the fallen heroes might have been ‘innocent’ of brutality and other wrong doings, it’s an institution thing now.

    At any rate, for those interested in the conclusion of the story with the dog wandering onto my property, I picked up a nearby shovel I was using and kind of waved it a bit, while I told my kids to go inside. Once they were inside, I backed away from the animal and followed my kids inside and shut the door. I then found the neighbor who owned the dog and told him to fetch his wretched animal and that if I ever found it loose on my property again (let alone in my back yard), we’d have some ‘problems’. The dog has not been seen again.

  2. I originally read the title as “Can’t believe my dog’s gone, I miss him so much! *bang* die kid, die!”

    Now back to the story…I don’t know what to say. I know that Gen X’ers talk about the old days where they used to roam around carefree and that Millennials need to get out more, but when you keep hearing about crap like this time and again, it’s hard to blame some for wanting to stay in and avoid conflicts. The world really has gone a bit psycho during my generation.

      • No shitsky PtB, eric, Swamp, It’s like I grew up in a world that people now could only envision if I wrote it as fiction and it would be difficult at that.

        My last stop in rat killing today was the liquor store. The young woman there told me about going to school in Canyon and what a drag it was with their godawful winters. I told her about living in Silverton, 100 miles east of Canyon and how it was an anything goes way of life. Some counties had no sheriff or DPS so driving was commonly a 100 mph thing for most of the population. If you never have been on the plains you’ll find at night a flashing red light to denote highway intersections may be 30 miles away….or more. You tend to drive 100 just to get anywhere other than an interminable cotton field. People up there didn’t give a rat’s ass about any type of authority. The only reason to be there is to get rich and to hell with anything or anybody who messes with you. Lots of foreign names from all over Europe there. We spoke about how it once was, then I topped off with beer and left. Well, I didn’t top me off with beer there and got practically 100 feet before I did a Jim Ed Brown and flung a cap out to “mess with Texas”.

        Then “Eighteen” came on the radio and I had to turn it up and sing along. It made me think the whole country actually gradually converted to that thing and how it played right in to the military’s hands. I got a baby’s brain and an old man’s heart, took eighteen years to get this far. Don’t always know what I’m talkin about. Feel like I’m living in the middle of doubt cause I’m eighteen, I get confused every day, eighteen, I got to get away.

        I recall being 18 and it went on for quite some time, longer than any other year I’ve lived I’m nearly sure. It’s great to be eighteen and fearless, bulletproof we all thought. We’d get bored hunting and shoot each other with shotguns. I bent over to tie my boot lace one day and my best friend unloaded on my backside. It stung a bit and I cussed and everybody else was rolling on the ground. We sometimes did that on dirt roads too when we fell out of a pickup. The key was to get up quickly lest you get run over by the driver overshooting your position. It’s still a bit like that where I am but get even remotely close to a neighboring county with a large school(hell, just stay away from schools)and even a hint of a rumor of somebody falling out of a pickup would bring the wrath of every “authority” down on the person who fell out and anyone he even knew. A kid shows up at school these days looking like we did sometimes and there’d be hell to pay even though it’s nobody’s business but ours and our parents. You did your best to avoid your parents but they were going to see those abrasions and plain old colorful and swollen pieces and parts. Did you get in a fight? No. Then your daddy says Looks like he fell outta the pickup. Then your mother gets back in. Did you fall out of the pickup? No answer. Who was driving? I don’t know. Did they know you fell out? No. Boy, is NO the only word you know? No. And you’re thinking ‘I’m eighteen, I get confused every day, eighteen I just don’t know what to say. I’m eighteen, I gotta get away” and that’s what most of us did.

        Then the only time you had to explain was when the parents got a bill from an ER somewhere or somebody’s parents who knew you asked if you were doing ok, their son was recuperating and they were looking for him another car. It was so nice when phones were so expensive to use and not everybody had one. You could hide out for months and just say you didn’t know anybody was trying to find you.

        Now every single person who can find reason to think they have some authority over someone else is going to get to the bottom of EVERYTHING. This country sucks the big one.

        • I still remember what it was like living in the 1950s and 1960s. Today not only can I barely recognize the country, but it’s like living on a different frigging planet. Like the Bizarro world.

          • Jason, I’m trying to slide up and get by 67 but it’s bizarro world that is my biggest threat. Freedom has been substituted by entitlement and kids are now perverted by it.

            I not only didn’t grow up with my own phone but I was only allowed to use one call by call and that was rare. Everybody had to wait their turn cause there were pretty much only party lines.

            We didn’t expect anything we weren’t told we would get. Everything beyond the basics was gravy. Dessert after a meal was a luxury. You’d do just about anything for the reward of a Coke and a candy bar. Food wasn’t wasted…..period. My dad got a raise or something and bought a TV. It was more roundish than square and we only got one station that was always in the midst of a blizzard that let up somewhat at night sometimes. It wasn’t a given that I could watch it either. Howdy Doody was the high point of a day years later. We kids were brought up on what passed for adult TV and laughed at things we didn’t begin to understand.

            We were really lucky in so many ways though. We could do mostly what we wanted as children as long as we showed up at dark. A big treat was going to the Drug Store and having a fountain drink. The only thing better was going without parents. We ate real food my dad bought and my mother cooked. The best thing about the grocery store was our good friend the butcher who would sharpen my pocket knife…..really sharp.

            My parents rarely fought, at least not in front of us kids. No screaming matches, cuss fights or threats. I was lucky as were most kids back then in rural America.

            No such things as a convenience store. We broke the taboo and danced ourselves silly. Grew up with Elvis and the Everly Bros., Bob Wills, Lawrence “and a 1 and a 2” Welk. Slim(Dont Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes((Don’t Let the Moon Break Your Heart))Willet and the Brush Cutters….an interesting aside, the Brush Cutters consisted of 3 brothers, the Woods boys, all State HIghway Patrols and not too good at it since they’d rather do anything than stop somebody and give them a ticket. One lived half a mile from me and was so bad he had to go to the doc and get some “mean” pills just to do his job. The pills didn’t seem to work. He got transferred to the narc unit in the early 60’s and then went on to do something else since that didn’t suit him either). Ray Price, Red Foley and a plethora of other greats nobody knows any more. Great days. Meanwhile, the hidden govt. was gaining power by the second and gearing up for the wars they’d eventually foist on this country and its people. I grew up with friends who served in Korea and had that thousand yard stare. They were quiet, gentle men. Those were the days my friend, we thought they’d never end.

          • Does anyone else find that most people simply don’t remember? That they are so in the ‘now’ that they can’t remember how things used to be or how things came to be?

            Apparently I am some sort of deviant just because I can remember what 1977 or 1985 was like. Everything from police to climate. They have put whatever authority says today in place of what should be their own memory.

            • Me too, Brent… it’s weird, eh?

              I can’t fully account for it, but at least part of the problem has got to be purposeful conditioning (which we’ve somehow avoided or it just hasn’t worked on us).

              Either that, or we’re crazy! 🙂

              • “Either that, or we’re crazy! ”
                I won’t speak for you, but I know I am crazy. However, I like it that way, and so does my wife. Who else matters?

    • Hi AJ,

      You Millennials missed it… the world Gen Xers like me grew up in. I can remember people smoking in airplanes. Arriving 10 minutes before departure and running to the gate. No “checkpoints” anywhere. That was in East Germany. Not America.

      Carrying cash was not “suspicious” – and if a cop took it from you, it was prosecutable theft.

      They had to prove you committed a crime before they could legally punish you.

      Cops had hair, most of them. No buzz cuts. Most did not wear black Intimidator sunglasses or look like they were ready to invade Poland, nor acted like it. You could argue with them and not risk being shot.

      No one in his right mind thought of them as “heroes.” Anyone who did was looked at funny and you avoided them.

      Only prisoners or people in rehab had to piss in cups.

      You could ride a motorcycle without a helmet. Kids played outside, unsupervised. All day long.

      You did not have to buy insurance – or could easily “get away” without buying it.

      People who obsessed about “safety” were considered geeks.

      There were no cops in schools – or metal detectors.

      My high school friends who hunted drove their trucks with shotgun racks onto school property and parked. No worries.

      Cops never shot dogs and rarely shot people. You had to really ask for it to have a cop draw a gun on you.

      • Eric –

        It’s worse than that. We have had that world stripped of us because many in all generations just don’t give a tinkers damn about freedom. I first noticed it when I spoke up in class as a kid against “energy conservation”, ecology, big government and big taxes, which were prevalent in the 1970s.

        Much later, I enthusiastically joined a group fighting against the 55 mph speed limit. I thought everyone was in. Instead, I was stunned to hear that 75% of the public supported the double nickel speed limit going into the summer of 1986. I couldn’t believe the level of apathy and sometimes hostility from individuals I spoke with about the state of driving. It continues to this day, although, by a miracle, we beat back the 55 mph and later 65 mph national speed limit itself. It was during the 55 mph years that police became hostile to the driving public. In the 1980’s I can’t ever remember wanting to be near a cop. Ever! That’s when the buzz haircuts began along with Ronnie’s veneration of authority figures as “heroes.” What horseshit. Most set up radar traps all day and wrote tickets. Today, the driving situation, though far more crowded is slightly better since we have better cover (more cars) and better speed limits. Personally, I will never stop fighting for that. We have come too far.

        Fast forward to 2001, I was astonished with the aplomb that people were taking the new security lines at the airports. It was eerily similar to the initial fight that my forebears must have had when the 55 mph speed limit was initially enacted in the aftermath of the 1973-4 oil embargo. We just take it. Since no one really flies too often, the inconvenience is only temporary and largely avoidable, hence, no protest. At some point, I wait for things to boil over, but they have kept the temperature low enough so that it doesn’t burn the frog in the water. I still can’t believe people are accepting this shit. I really can’t.

        People really don’t rise up against the constant reports of police brutality because it doesn’t affect them. It hasn’t hit critical mass. It may never hit that point. Or critical mass may grow to a point that it will never reach it. I don’t know the answer. There are pockets of resistance, but some are discreditable (like Black Lives Matter) and others remain largely unreported. The direction is in suspense due to the presidential election.

        When things settle out later, media attention will focus on these things and others again. We will see.

  3. Last week in Gritsforbreakfast.com, the point was made that police chief’s hands were tied for the most part. Even when they tried to discipline an officer they were stymied by the union. Shooting dogs isn’t a matter of being fearful as I see it, it’s the need to shoot “something, anything”. These guys just need to shoot something that’s alive and dogs are a good patsy. If one shot my child there’d be some country justice in his future. Those bullet-proof vests don’t cover the entire body. A fast round like a .243 or .222 to the inner thigh and nothing can stop that flow.

  4. I’m so tired of this. I learned how to handle dogs when I had a paper route in sixth fucking grade. And that was back in the ’70s when people didn’t even pretend to restrain them.

    Police unions gotta go. Cops need to be personally liable, just like every other (non-governmental) profession. Otherwise, how are we any better than your run-of-the-mill banana republic? I can’t believe that some smart cops somewhere don’t see this.

    Bad enough if the bastards shoot my dog, but if they got my little girl, instead? Ugh, eric, if you wanted to get my blood boiling this morning, you’ve succeeded.

    • The cops could be trained by other government employees. Mail carriers have successfully dealt with dogs for decades without shooting them. It’s pretty obvious at this point that cops shoot dogs because they like to do it.

      • Hi Brent,

        Exactly.

        This sort of thing just didn’t happen – ever – when I was a kid back in the ’80s.

        What’s changed?

        The public has been browbeaten into not merely tolerating but accepting brutality that would have been considered beyond unacceptable just 30 years ago.

        And it will not stop until people no longer accept it – and reject the bleats about “officer safety” and stop worshipping these psychologically disturbed cretins as “heroes.”

        • Years ago, I remember cops I knew bragging about how they had never even drawn their guns in the line of duty. It seemed like a badge of honor to be able to handle potentially dangerous situations with persuasion and common sense. Sure as hell more manly than blasting away at Fido.

          Of course, they seemed to also think that their jobs were to protect and serve. Funny, that.

          • Most cops used to criticize those Dirty Harry types that carried big barreled 45’s. Now most street cops, even in towns with little crime carry semi automatic handguns with extra clips for easy reloading.

            Most people seem to forget, as recently as twenty years ago, most cops carried at most a small caliber pistol with only six shots (maybe a nightstick too). No clips for easy reloading, most cops probably only had a second set of 6 bullets and had to reload individually into the barrel. Maybe a lieutenant would have a backup shotgun in the trunk of his car, but that would be it for weapons.

            That’s why I think they would back down, they had too, because they didn’t have the firepower they have now. I don’t think the new attitude will change until the big guns go away or they could be personally liable.

            I used to think British bobbies were weird for not carrying guns. But to be honest, that should be the norm. Unfortunately, I think fewer bobbies are unarmed now a days.

          • My dad was a big city cop for almost 40 years, retired in the mid 80’s. When he did retire, one of the things that he was most proud of was the fact that he never once, in his entire career, removed his gun from its holster in the line of duty.

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