Officer shooting at dog hits woman

October 8, 2009 9:54:08 AM PDT
A woman who was shot by an officer in La Marque has been released from the hospital. Investigators say the shooting happened after a police officer responded to a disturbance. The officer drew her weapon to fire at a dog, but accidentally shot a woman standing nearby. The shooting happened just after 7pm yesterday near 5th Avenue and Walnut Street.

"We were devastated," said Leon Filidei, whose 23-year-old daughter, Candice, was shot. "I thought she had died."

Filidei is counting his blessings. Candice is coming home from the hospital the day after the officer opened fire, injuring her.

"She had a bullet fragment ricochet off the ground or something and struck her in the collarbone," said Filidei.

Candice was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital by Life Flight. Her mother, Robin, was standing nearby and saw her daughter hit the ground.

"I don't know why it wasn't me shot," she said.

The La Marque police officer was in the neighborhood on an unrelated call. As she was leaving, something stopped her.

"One of the girls screamed and the officer jumped out of the car, they told me, with a pistol and tried to shoot the dog," said Filidei.

It was a neighbor's pit bull jumping and playing with a group of neighbors, including Gary Ennis' teenagers.

"'Boom,' then my kids started running, then 'boom, boom'," he said.

Ennis heard five shots. Fourteen-year-old Miranda and 17-year-old Tommy were about six feet away from the whizzing bullets.

"I was so amazed that she was pointing her gun straight at me," said Tommy Ennis.

"The dog was running in and out of our legs and jumping on us and she's just shooting at it," added Miranda.

We tried to talk to the dog's owner, but no one was home. When asked about the officer's actions, interim Police Chief Lt. Kirk Jackson explained the department's policy, saying, "If the officer determines a threat to life or safety, they can use deadly force for the protection of citizens. It's no different in cases of aggressive animals."

While Robin, Candice's mother, calls the incident a mistake, she says the officer had no right to shoot in close range with so many people nearby.

"She made a mistake," she said. "She has to live with that. Thank God she kill anybody."

Candice will not undergo surgery. The shrapnel will stay in her body. The Galveston County District Attorney's Office is investigating. The family says they haven't decided whether or not they'll take legal action.

The police officer's name has not been released, but we're told she is a 30-year-old who has been on the force since March 2008. She is on administrative duty, which is standard procedure.

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