INDIANAPOLIS — An officer-involved shooting remains under investigation on the city’s near east side.
Officers with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s Southeast District responded around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday to a report of a disturbance in the 100 block of Villa Avenue.
Aubrey Williams said she was verbally arguing with her partner when somebody called the police.
“When they got to my residence they banged on my door. It literally sounds like they was kicking in my door,” said Williams. “So my dog literally met me at my door because that’s what he’s trained to do.”
“When he met me at the door, I literally swung my front door open, pushed my screen out and stood right here on my porch and said make him leave until he [the dog] calms down,” said Williams.
IMPD said while on the scene multiple dogs charged at the officers.
“During that time, an officer drew his weapon and shot the dog that was coming after him to attack him,” said IMPD Public Information Officer Genae Cook. “Someone there at the scene had reached in and attempted to corral the dog before it got to the officer and while the officer shot the dog, the person there also received a gunshot wound to their hand.”
That person was Williams, who claims she was already holding onto her dog’s collar and in control when the officer fired his gun.
“I had this arm like this, this arm on his collar. The first bullet that was discharged from his firearm hit my hand,” said Williams. “For my hand to be shot and my dog by the target, I had to be on my dog.”
“I let my dog go and instantly grabbed it and started jumping up and down. I’m shot, it’s burning, it’s burning,” said Williams.
The dog, Clyde, was pronounced dead at the scene. Williams said she put her other dog, Bonnie, back inside the home and it wasn’t until later she realized Bonnie was injured, too.
“I’m hurt that my dog is gone because I called them my kids,” said Williams, who told FOX59 Bonnie was expected to survive and would be picked up Wednesday night from the animal hospital.
IMPD said one officer was bit by a dog, evaluated for their injuries and released at the scene
When responding to any incidents involving aggressive animals acting in a threatening manner, IMPD said each is handled on a case-by-case basis.
“You know, dogs can cause serious bodily injury to a person’s arms, legs, face, any part of their body,” said Cook. “It doesn’t have to be limited to a threat just to the officer, but it could be a threat to someone else, maybe a small child, maybe another adult.”
“Even though it’s a dog — this dog is coming at the officer so at that point they have to take the actions to protect themselves,” said Cook. “Officers care about these things, you know. We’re humans too. We still have to go home. We still have children. We still have animals. We still have his everything that everybody else has.”
Williams tells FOX59 she believes her dogs acted out of protection for their owners.
“They [police] snuck up on my porch and banged up,” said Williams. “My dogs thought my door was being kicked in and that’s why they did what they did.”
She said that her dogs are gentle and kind, but that they have always protected Williams or her friends if they felt anyone was in danger.
“If I didn’t have control of my dog the officer would have been bit up worser than what he would’ve,” said Williams, “because my dog has also bit the neighbor behind me. I’ve also had a situation with that too.”
Williams said in that incident, her dog was working to protect her and her friends after a neighbor allegedly punched a woman that was staying with her.
“Clyde literally ate him up from here almost all the way down the alley back to his home,” said Williams. “That’s what my dogs do, they protect me and my friends if they feel we’re in danger.”
Investigation into Tuesday’s shooting
According to IMPD, officers were wearing body cameras that were activated during the incident. IMPD’s Critical Incident Response Team responded to the scene to conduct the criminal investigation and it is being assisted by the Indianapolis-Marion County Forensic Services Agency.
IMPD said a separate administrative investigation is being conducted by IMPD’s Internal Affairs.
“The civilian majority Use of Force Review Board will also take a look at this incident. This will run through the same protocols that we have,” said Cook.
That review will take place after the conclusion of the criminal investigation, according to IMPD.
IMPD has been releasing critical incident videos from police-action shootings, something the department said helps give a firsthand look at what happened and ensures transparency between police and the community.
“We want to be able to put out the entire story. We want people to be able to see what we’re faced with, the actions that another person is taking and why we have to react that way — in a specific manner,” said Cook.
“We put those out good, bad or indifferent to show that we are working for the community and this is what we’re doing. If there’s something that we need to change, we show it to you,” she said.
The Police Officer Support Team (POST) also responded to the incident to provide peer support for officers.
Detectives continue to canvass the area for witnesses and other evidence. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective John Breedlove at (317) 327-3475 or by e-mail at John.Breedlove@indy.gov.
Alternatively, anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers anonymously at (317) 262-TIPS.