WICHITA, Kan. — A former Wichita police officer has been charged with felony aggravated battery for shooting a dog and injuring a 9-year-old girl.

Dexter Betts was called to a home for a domestic issue in December when he shot the family dog, The Wichita Eagle reported. The girl was wounded from ricocheted bullet fragments that hit her above the eye.

The girl’s mother and father were both unarmed and standing outside the home with other officers when the shooting occurred. Betts had gone inside to retrieve a handgun. Police have alleged that the dog charged at Betts.

The incident occurred in the family’s living room with the girl’s three siblings, ages 6 to 10, present. Betts was fired following the shooting.

The felony charge against Betts says he “unlawfully and recklessly” caused bodily harm to another person when he fired “a handgun at a dog while a child was in the room.” His next court appearance is April 11.

Betts’ attorney, Jess Hoeme, believes his client didn’t act recklessly and said “we look forward to presenting our defense in court.”

Charley O’Hara, attorney for the girl’s family, said that the girl’s mother is pleased that the officer was charged.

“She said she was happy with the charge that was filed, and it was the correct thing to do.”

The Wichita Police Department has denied the newspaper’s request to release the police video of the shooting, saying that providing it would interfere with the shooting investigation and invade the family’s privacy.

O’Hara has said that the family wants the video to be made public.


Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com