Hammond, Indiana – The same dog who was featured on the news as the friendly pit bull sitting in the front seat of a police car just two months ago, was featured on the news for an encounter with police once again this week—but this time, it was for a sad and heartbreaking reason.
Her name was Lexi, and she was one of two pit bulls living at Rock the Sky Fireworks in Hammond. When she ran away in May, she was rescued by an Indiana State Trooper. According to a report from the Northwest Indiana Gazette, Trooper Corey Adam “had to block traffic as he coaxed the dog to come up to him. The dog was friendly, but scared, and Adam was able to get the dog out of the roadway.”
Lexi’s owner and manager at Rock the Sky Fireworks, Jennifer Shannon, told The Free Thought Project that Lexi was used to seeing police officers around the area, and was typically friendly.
On Tuesday at 11 a.m., Hammond Police Officer Daniel Small entered the fireworks shop, while he was in the area inspecting a report of a stolen vehicle. After talking to Shannon’s boyfriend and son, Small went to his car to retrieve something, and then encountered Lexi.
“My dog was not chained, she was originally in the store and I think the other dog—who was chained up to the physical door—must have pulled the door open, and she was just sitting outside the door sun tanning like she often did,” Shannon said. “The officer came up to the store, walked past the dogs, the dogs didn’t move. He came into store talked to my boyfriend and son and then said he needed to get something from his car. He went back out the dog got up and ran toward him. She was super friendly and used to officers and people because it’s a fireworks store and we have over 15 officers that had been petting and playing with her for three weeks prior to yesterday.”
While Shannon does not have a direct recording of the shooting, she does have video from the store’s surveillance camera, which shows Lexi running out of the store to meet the officer, and then—within seconds—running back to the store.
“She ran toward him in the video and literally within seconds runs back with two bullet holes begging to get back in to the store,” Shannon said. “When my boyfriend heard the gunshots, he went out back and found her bleeding everywhere. He asked the officer what happened and he responded that she ran at him.”
Shannon told The Free Thought Project that she learned about the shooting when she received a call from her boyfriend. She said she asked to speak to the officer, and when Officer Small did get on the phone, he simply said, “She ran at me so I shot her.”
When Shannon told Small that Lexi was pregnant, and would need immediate medical attention, she said he responded by saying, “She should’ve been tied up,” and then hanging up the phone.
While Small’s initial explanation for the shooting was simplified by the claim that Lexi ran towards him, the statement released by the Hammond Police Department was much more in-depth, and detailed an encounter in which “the dog lunged at his right calf snapping, barking, growling and attempting to bite him.”
“On 7/11/17 at approximately 11:15 AM, a Hammond police detective responded to the 7500 block of Calumet Avenue as part of a stolen vehicle investigation. When the detective approached the business at this location, a white pit bull breed canine came running out of the building. The detective attempted to walk away from the dog hoping that it was secure on a leash. The canine continued to run toward the detective. The detective attempted to run away again hoping that the dog was on a leash but quickly realized that the dog was not secure. According to the detective, the dog lunged at his right calf snapping, barking, growling and attempting to bite him. The detective feared for his safety and the safety of anyone near the business who might be passing and fired at the canine twice with his weapon striking the dog. The dog ran back into the business. When asked about the dog, the owner of the business confirmed that the dog was not on a leash or chain. The Hammond police detective was in fear for his safety believing that he was going to be attacked or mauled by the approaching canine and took the necessary steps to prevent an attack to him or anyone else in the area.”
Based on the short span of time captured on the security camera, and the fact that she heard Small telling his bosses that the dog simply ran at him several times, Shannon said she does not believe the accusations from the statement.
“There was no time for what the officer states,” Shannon said. “His released statement is that the dog was biting and nipping at his leg when he shot her. That is impossible. She literally runs there and back in 8 seconds. No time for tugging or anything else.”
By the time Shannon arrived at the scene, she said 40 minutes had passed since the shooting, and Lexi had still not received medical attention, but was “still alive, bleeding everywhere.”
Lexi had two gunshot wounds—in her stomach and lower back. Shannon described a horrific scene in which they traveled to three different vet hospitals, attempting to find a vet who could treat Lexi.
Ultimately, Lexi succumbed to her injuries, and both she and the puppies she was six weeks pregnant with, died.
“I’m just devastated,” Shannon said. “How can he protect the citizens if he’s 6’4” and in ‘fear’ for his life from a 28 lb. dog that literally just wanted him to pet her? If that wasn’t, enough he told my son that he better put the other dog inside before he shot him too.”
Shannon said there were two witnesses who claimed Lexi presented no threat to the officer. In addition to a lack of remorse, and an escalation of the story’s details, Shannon said her latest problems with the Hammond Police Department are nothing new.
“They had the worst attitude in the world, and he literally was the coldest person I have ever met,” Shannon said. “No remorse, just lies. We only have the dogs because Hammond Police have failed miserably at doing their jobs, and we have been robbed 57 times in 10 years, with no arrests to date.”