Bullet fragment from WPD officer's gun injures 9-year-old girl

Published: Jan. 1, 2018 at 12:04 PM CST
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An officer with the Wichita Police Department is on administrative leave following a shooting incident reported Saturday night at a northeast Wichita home.

No one was seriously injured, but a family is upset after a fragment from a shot fired by the officer struck a nine-year-old girl and required her to be treated at a local hospital.

Wichita police said at about 6:15 p.m. on Saturday, officers responded to a 911 call of a domestic dispute and suicidal person with a gun in the 1500 block North Gentry (near 13th and Hillside.)

Police said officers received information that a man inside the home had held a gun to his mouth and choked a dog. A woman and four children were also inside the home when officers arrived.

When those officers arrived, police said they received information that there was a handgun in a bedroom on a bed underneath a pillow. The retrieval of this gun led to the girl's minor injury, according to the account from police.

"When officers were retrieving the gun, a mid-sized mixed-breed dog charged at one of the officers," police said. "The officer pulled his service weapon and shot at the dog, missing it. The round struck the hard surface floor of the residence and broke into fragments. A piece of a fragment ricocheted, striking a 9-year-old girl in the forehead, just above her right eye. She was treated at a local hospital and released Saturday evening."

Police said a suicidal man at the scene was cooperative and taken for a mental health exam.

The case will be reviewed by the Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office and the department will conduct an internal review of the shooting to determine if department policies were followed.

Wichita police said the officer's placement on administrative leave follows the department's policy.

Danielle Maples, the mother of the girl injured by the fragment from the officer's shot, said she was appalled by what happened.

"I'm mortified because there were so many things that could have been done differently, but were not," she said.

In an interview with Eyewitness News on Sunday, Maples said she and her husband were both outside when officers entered their home. She said they never asked for permission to go inside.

“My whole intention of calling was to keep everyone safe and that didn't happen,” said Maples.

The family's attorney, Charlie O'Hara said policies in place with the Wichita Police Department should be reviewed. He also said three bullet fragments were removed from the child.

"I think we all need to look at what judgment is being done by our police officers here and where they're getting that they can act like this," O'Hara said.