Atlanta, GA — An almost unbelievable tale of police incompetence comes out of Dekalb County Tuesday after police responded to the wrong home on a burglary call.
During the blunder, police officers wrongfully entered a residence as the homeowners, Chris and Leah McKinley and their small child, watched the movie Serendipity on their sofa.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
The bizarre incident unfolded shortly after 7:30 p.m. when three officers responded to a report of a suspicious person near Bouldercrest Road, but were not given a street address, DeKalb director of public safety Cedric Alexander said. The officers went to a home in the 1500 block of Boulderwoods Drive that matched the description given by a 911 caller, Dutton said.
“Officers approached the residence and attempted to contact occupants at the residence,” he said. “No contact was made.”
When officers went to the rear of the house, they found an unlocked screen and unlocked door and believed an intruder was inside, according to police. Officers entered the home through the unlocked door that led to the kitchen and announced their presence.
“Upon entry to the residence, the officers encountered a dog,” Dutton said in an email. “Two officers fired their weapons, striking and killing the animal in the kitchen.”
The McKinley’s neighbor, Tama Colson was out walking Monday night when she saw the patrol cars on the street. She then heard the gunshots.
It wasn’t just the dog, who police shot, however. After hearing police shoot his dog in the kitchen, Chris McKinley walked into the room to assess the situation. That’s when he too was shot by the Dekalb County police.
“I hear Leah screaming, I see Chris walking out, ‘They just shot me, they just shot me, and they killed my dog,’” Colson recounted of the incident. “So I got him to lay down, took my shirt off and rendered first aid. And Chris just kept saying, ‘Why did they shoot me? Why did they shoot my dog?’ He says, ‘I opened the door to see what the dogs were barking at, and I see black uniforms and I hear pop-pop-pop-pop,’” Colson continued.
But the epic blunder wasn’t over just yet. After they broke into the wrong home, killed a family pet, and shot the innocent and unarmed homeowner, they also shot their fellow cop!
One of the officers had to be transported in critical condition to the Grady Memorial Hospital after being shot by one of his own officers. That officer was in serious, but stable condition Tuesday morning after receiving a bullet to his hip.
According to DeKalb police Chief James Conroy, the three officers involved are all on paid leave.
“Without getting into the specifics of this case, that’s one of the challenges when people call 911, we often don’t know where they are,” Conroy said. “We want officers to go out and investigate crimes like this rather than react. We want to go out and actually apprehend criminals and help people.”
However, these officers were doing no such investigation, nor were they apprehending criminals.
In an atypical fashion, the department officially admitted to making a mistake.
“Are we perfect? Absolutely not. But when we find that we made a mistake, we own it. We own the fact that we were at the wrong house,” he said. “We didn’t hide it. We didn’t mismanage it. We were at the wrong location based on information that was given to us.”
The part that was left out, however, is that their ‘mistake’ led to police officers shooting an innocent man and killing a family pet.