Sometimes everything that can go wrong will go wrong, and it looks like Murphy was working overtime last night in Georgia.
A DeKalb County police officer was critically injured, a homeowner injured and dog killed in a shooting Monday night.
Three officers were responding to a report of suspicious person, but instead went to the wrong home in the 1500 block of Boulderwoods Drive, near Bouldercrest Road, Cedric Alexander, director of public safety, said late Monday. Officers weren’t given a street address, but went to a home matching the description given by a 911 caller, Alexander said.
When officers got to the rear of the house, they found an unlocked screen and unlocked door and believed an intruder was inside, according to police. Officers announced their presence, but it wasn’t known how it escalated to gunfire.
Both an officer and a homeowner, whose names were not released, were shot and a dog was killed inside the home, Alexander said. But officers determined it was not the correct home.
“The residence that these officers responded to is the wrong residence that was in question,” Alexander said.
The officer, shot in the thigh, was in critical condition and underwent emergency surgery at Grady Memorial Hospital. The homeowner was also being treated for injuries, but his condition was not known, Alexander said. At least one officer discharged his gun, but no information was released on whether the homeowner also had a gun.
We simply don’t know enough of what happened at this time to form an opinion on what transpired.
Clearly, the homeowner had a right to be in his home, and would have a legal right to defend it against unknown intruders. There are numerous reasons that the homeowner might not have heard the officers announce themselves, and there is the possibility that the homeowner heard the officers announce themselves, but did not immediately believe them. Home invaders are known to announce themselves as police.
There is every indication that the three officers were responding in good faith to the description of the scene provided by a 911 caller. They approached a home that matched the description provided by the caller, found the home unsecured in a high-crime neighborhood, and wanted to ensure that the lawful residents of the home weren’t in danger.
The 911 caller appears to be a concerned citizen, attempting to prevent a crime and protect his neighbors. There is no indication that this was a SWATting call.
We still don’t know who fired the shots that hit the officer, the homeowner, or the dog in the melee.
It may very well be that the officers and the homeowner were acting lawfully, and that the officers were additionally acting within department policy in this tragic scene, and that no charges are warranted in the situation.
What a rotten situation all around.