Parents say girl shot by officer faces more surgeries

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WHITEHALL, Ohio (WCMH) – It has been almost two weeks since a Columbus police officer shot at a dog and hit a four-year-old girl in the leg.

Her parents, Brad and Andrea Ellis, say young Ava faces several more surgeries and are waiting to find out if she will have permanent injuries.

The couple, along with their attorney Michael Wright, said they want answers from Columbus police about what their investigation shows and what is being done with Officer Jonathan Thomas.

According to Columbus police Spokesperson Denise Alex-Bouzounis, Thomas, a five-year veteran, was at a house in the 4100 block of Chandler Drive investigating a hit-and-run case at about 3:10 p.m.

Andrea Ellis said her sister Brandy waved the officer over, telling him Andrea had accidentally cut herself on the door and needed a medic.

Ellis said her four- and eight-year-old girls opened the front door and their dog Patches ran out.

That is when, Ellis said, Officer Thomas took a step back and fired at the dog. Instead,the bullet hit Ava in the right leg, went through the front door and lodged in a cabinet in the house.

Attorney Michael Wright said Officer Thomas then retreated to his cruiser and did not help the injured girl.

“Instead of administering aid to Ava, witnesses state that Officer Thomas walked down the driveway, got in his car and drove off before an ambulance or any other help arrived.” Wright said.

Last year most Columbus officers went through first aid training because they are first responders who can perform emergency treatment before medics arrive on the scene.

Andrea Ellis said when she saw the officer pull his handgun out, her first thought was there are children standing there. She said after the shooting she put a towel on her daughter’s shattered leg.

“She is asking me am I going to die, it was a lot,” Ellis said.

Asked about the officer’s reaction to the shooting and aftermath, Andrea responded. “I am pretty disappointed! I felt it is his job to protect, if it was an accident he should still be there to check on my child, to make sure she was okay, to make sure somebody was on the way,” she said.

Columbus police are still investigating the shooting and are releasing few details. Wright told NBC4 Officer Thomas is on paid administrative leave.

CPD released the following statement:

On Friday, June 19th, 4-year-old Ava Ellis was seriously injured as a result of being unintentionally shot by one of our officers. Earlier today, her parents provided an update on Ava’s condition. We were grateful to learn that her healing is under way, but she has a long road ahead. She remains in our thoughts and prayers as she continues her recovery. No officer ever wants to be in any way associated with such a tragedy, and no family would ever want to endure it. The Columbus Division of Police continues to investigate the circumstances of the shooting to determine what happened and how. It is too early in the investigation to respond to all of the statements made to local media regarding the incident, but not all of them are correct. Witnesses are being interviewed, evidence is being evaluated, forensic reports are being considered and the officer involved has provided a statement to the Division. At the conclusion of the investigation, the full results will be available to the public. The Division will take the steps necessary to appropriately address what happened, make any necessary changes to training or policy and take any corrective actions that are warranted to lessen the chance that a tragedy like this ever happens again.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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