Ohio cops are expected to pay $780,000 in a settlement deal pending Columbus City Council’s approval after an officer shot a 4-year-old in the leg while trying to shoot her dog that her family says was retreating from the porch when the officer unnecessarily fired his gun.
He then fled the scene.
Instead of rendering aid and making sure the child was OK, officer Jonathan Thomas then walked down the driveway, got in his patrol car and left the scene without administering aid or making sure an ambulance was on the way.
After the shooting, while medics made attempts to save her life Ava Ellis cried, “Mommy, am I gonna die?” according to NYDailyNews.
The bullet shattered the bone in Ava Ellis’ leg, which required surgery.
“They had started to cut her pants off her and I just see blood everywhere,” her mom Andrea Ellis said after the shooting.
Andrea Ellis covered Ava’s wounds with a towel.
“Officer Thomas never said sorry, never said it was an accident, never said that he called for help or was going to call for help, never asked if Ava was OK, and never asked if he could check on Ava,” she added.
On June 19 2015, officer Jonathan Thomas was responding to a separate call in the same neighborhood when Andrea Ellis accidentally cut herself.
Andrea’s sister Kelly called 911 screaming, “she’s bleeding all over the place! I need a paramedic!”
Kelly then noticed officer Thomas a few houses down and cried to him for help.
When Thomas approached their home, one of their family dogs allegedly ran towards him, although the Ellis family recounts a different version of events.
Thomas shot at the dog, but the bullet missed it and struck 4-year-old Ava in the leg instead, shattering the bone.
The bullet ricocheted after hitting Ava’s leg, and was lodged in a cabinet inside of the family’s home.
Thomas then left the scene, even though he was reportedly not injured during the incident.
A neighbor then called 911 again.
“My neighbor across the street had an officer at her door and she’s screaming that he shot a child,” the neighbor told the police dispatcher.
Police claimed that Thomas was defending himself.
Thomas was reportedly disciplined, but is challenging his punishment in arbitration.
No charges were filed against him for failing to render aid. And he has not been fired.
“Instead of administering aid to Ava, witnesses state that Officer Thomas walked down the driveway, got in his car and drove off before an ambulance or any other help arrived,” said Attorney Michael Wright.
“I felt it is his job to protect, if it was an accident he should still be there to check on my child, to make sure she was okay, to make sure somebody was on the way,” Andrea Ellis said.
Thomas never gave a reason why he fled the scene, and reportedly went back to work just a few days after shooting Ava.
In 2011, according to Huffington Post, the Department of Justice published a memo on dog-related police encounters. It includes a how-to on how to handle dogs without killing them.
Columbus police apparently never got that memo.