Wichita officer fired after 9-year-old hurt in shooting incident

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

An officer with the Wichita Police Department has been fired after a 9-year-old girl was hurt in a shooting incident last month.

Police say Officer Dexter Betts' employment was terminated. The officer had been on leave since the incident on December 30.

Officers responded to the report of a domestic disturbance and suicidal person at a home near 13th and Hillside. Police had said officers were told a 33-year-old man in the home had held a gun in his mouth and choked a dog.

The family's attorney, Charles O'Hara, tells KAKE News by the time police by the time police arrived, the situation has been resolved and the couple was standing outside, with no weapon and ready to talk to police. 

"While the officers were retrieving the gun, a mid-sized mixed breed dog charged at one of the officers," police said in news release after the incident. "The officer pulled his service weapon and shot at the dog, missing it."

The bullet struck the floor and broke into fragments, one of them ricocheting and striking a 9-year-old girl in the forehead just above her right eye. She was hospitalized and released later that evening. 

"Why in the world a policeman would shoot a gun in the room with four little kids when a dog is barking at him is very hard to understand," O'Hara said.

O'Hara says the mother, who was outside during the shooting, was not allowed to go inside to check on her daughter nor ride in the ambulance to the hospital.

O'Hara says the police department needs to review its policies.

The case has been turned over to the Sedgwick County District Attorney's office and it's up to the DA whether any charges will be filed against the former officer.

O'Hara says he and his client will be seeing the officer's body cam footage for the first time next week.


Previous story:

The Wichita Police Department says one of its officers is on administrative leave after a 9-year-old girl was hurt in a shooting incident on Saturday.

Officers were called at around 6:15 p.m. to the report of a domestic disturbance and suicidal person in the 1500 block of North Gentry, near 13th and Hillside. Officer Paul Cruz said in a news release that officers were told a 33-year-old man in the home had held a gun in his mouth and choked a dog.

A woman and four children were also in the home.

After arriving on scene, officers learned that the gun was underneath a pillow in a bedroom.

"While the officers were retrieving the gun, a mid-sized mixed breed dog charged at one of the officers," the release said." The officer pulled his service weapon and shot at the dog, missing it."

The bullet struck the floor and broke into fragments, one of them ricocheting and striking a 9-year-old girl in the forehead just above her right eye. She was hospitalized and released later that evening. 

Mother of swatting victim wants more arrests made

The officer who fired was placed on leave, per department policy. The release said the department will conduct an internal investigation.

The suicidal man was taken for a mental health exam.

No names were released.

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