WATCH: Wichita Cop Charged in Dog Shooting That Injured 9-Year-Old

A former Wichita police officer has been charged with felony aggravated battery for shooting at a dog while on duty and wounding a 9-year-old girl in the same room where he fired.

It is believed to be the first time in decades that a Wichita officer has been charged in an on-duty shooting that resulted in injury or death.

The girl, hit by bullet fragments, was so directly in the line of fire when the officer shot at her dog that the flashlight he shined from above his gun barrel illuminated her face right before he fired, her family’s attorney has said.

The shooting occurred in the small living room of the girl’s home on North Gentry on Dec. 30. Her three siblings, ages 6 to 10, were also in the room.

Dexter Betts, the officer who shot at the dog, was fired after the incident, The Eagle has reported.

The felony charge against him, filed on March 20, says Betts “did … unlawfully and recklessly cause bodily harm to another person … (the child) in a manner whereby great bodily harm, disfigurement or death could have been inflicted, to wit: firing a handgun at a dog while a child was in the room.” A court summons orders Betts to appear in court on April 11.

Betts’ attorney, Jess Hoeme, said of the charge: “I expect that this will be litigated at length because I firmly believe that Mr. Betts did not act recklessly under the circumstances, and we look forward to presenting our defense in court.”

Charley O’Hara, attorney for the girl’s family, said the child’s mother is pleased.

“She said she was happy with the charge that was filed, and it was the correct thing to do.” Still, because of the shooting, “the girl is still struggling,” O’Hara said, without elaborating.

O’Hara praised District Attorney Marc Bennett, whose office filed the charge: “I think it is a big deal. I think there’s a tendency of certain government officials to treat law enforcement officers differently than the regular public for the same acts, and it appears that Mr. Bennett is treating everyone equally, which is very admirable.”

Bennett said he can’t comment on the case until after Betts has his first court appearance.

Hoeme questioned O’Hara’s objectivity, saying O’Hara intends to sue the city on behalf of the family.

O’Hara said Hoeme’s criticism was ironic considering that Hoeme is trying to defend someone who is seen on video shooting with the girl in the line of fire. “I would question Mr. Hoeme’s objectivity,” O’Hara said.

O’Hara said no lawsuit has been filed.

A little over two weeks ago, the mother found a gun shell casing — apparently the officer’s — while cleaning behind a TV stand in the same room where the officer fired, O’Hara said.

This is the dog fired upon by a Wichita police officer in a small house on North Gentry on Dec. 30. Bullet fragments injured a young girl, resulting in the now-former officer being charged.