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On Friday afternoon, Apollo, a 16-month old German Shepherd mix slipped out the front door. Moments later he would be shot in the head by a Hometown, Illinois police officer right in front of the the family, including a 6-year old little girl and several neighbors.
Apollo’s owners contacted police when the young dog escaped, to alert them that their dog was loose and that they were looking for him. It was a phone call they’ll likely regret making for the rest of their lives.
Hometown Police Chief Charles Forsyth posted on the department’s Facebook page:
On 7/25/14 Police Dispatch received a phone call (recorded call on file) from the dog owners home that their dog a 16 month shepherd/pit mix was loose and requested the Police to watch out for the dog.The Officer located the dog in the area and followed it back to its home. The Officer reports while attempting to coax the dog back into the house the dog turned, growled and approached him in a threatening manner. The Officer then withdrew his service weapon and fired one shot striking the dog.
Apollo’s owner, Nicole Echlin, said they had just brought Apollo back into their yard when police showed up.
She told NBC5, “We were in the lawn and the cop already had his gun out,” Echlin said. “I tried to call him in the house and he just stood there staring and I guess he showed his teeth and the cop just shot him, right in front of me and my 6-year-old daughter.”
In a rare display of immediate and commendable action after a dog shooting, the Hometown Police Chief fired the 15-year veteran of the police force.
Chief Forsyth explained, “although the Officer may have been justified under the Illinois Use of Force statute governing deadly force, I have made the decision to terminate that Officers employment with the Hometown Police Department. In addition, all reports and witness statements will be forwarded to the Illinois State Police Public Integrity Unit to be reviewed.”
Apollo was taken to the Animal Welfare League in Chicago Ridge, where he died Saturday morning.