Shocking police bodycam footage has been released showing the moment a Kansas officer opened fire in a room full of children and injured a nine-year-old girl.
Wichita Officer Dexter Betts was fired after he shot at a dog he claimed was attacking him and wounded the child instead.
The bodycam footage, which was released Thursday, shows Betts’ flashlight illuminating the girl just moments before he fires at the dog in front of her.
Betts and and another officer were called to the home on December 30 after the girl’s mother, Danielle Maples, called 911 to report that her husband had put a gun in his mouth and wanted to harm himself.
The officers arrived at the scene of the house to find Maples’ husband standing in the driveway, unarmed and with his hands up.
In the footage, which was released by The Wichita Eagle, the officers can be seen walking up the house. They later told authorities that they entered because they were looking for the gun.
One officer cautiously opens the front door into the living room full of children who can be heard crying, clearly scared by the entire situation.
Two boys are standing in front of a television in the living room, while the nine-year-old girl is sitting on the floor in front of a couch.
The bodycam footage shows Betts looking into a few rooms near the front of the house before saying ‘Woah, woah, we got a dog in here’.
Just moments later the dog – a 35lb English Bull Terrier named Chevy – barks and Betts immediately fires two shots.
‘Ow! Ow! Ow, you hurt my eye!’ the girl screams out in pain. ‘Ow! Ow!’
Fragments from Betts’ bullets had ricocheted off the concrete floor under the carpet in the living room and hit both the nine-year-old girl and the dog.
Betts tells the children to get out of the room and the words ‘shots fired’ can be heard being reported over the police radio.
‘Dog inside, attacked up,’ Betts tells someone after they ask what happened. ‘I’m good,’ he adds.
The girl is wailing in pain as the officers leave the home and her three brothers wait in the driveway, clearly scared.
At one point it appears the girl’s father is holding her in his arms, trying to calm her down as he tells an officer ‘we have to take my daughter to the hospital’.
‘In the house, we were trying to go get the gun, looking for the gun, and the dog came out from one of the back rooms,’ he told her.
‘Did he attack you?’ she asks.
‘Yeah,’ he says, before adding that the dog didn’t get him.
Betts was fired from the Wichita Police Department less than a month after the incident.
He now faces a felony charge of aggravated battery, to which he has pleaded not guilty. His trial is set for August 20.
Betts is believed to be the first Wichita police officer to face a criminal charge from an on-duty shooting that resulted in injury or death in the last two decades.
His defense attorney claims that Betts was ‘not reckless’ but was trying to ‘avoid being attacked by this vicious dog’.
Charley O’Hara, the family’s lawyer, said the dog merely came up to Betts and barked.
O’Hara said the nine-year-old girl believed the officer was ‘shooting directly at her’ when he opened fire.
Maples has since said that the shooting will both leave external and psychological scars on her daughter.
‘The mother said to me after seeing the video “I’ve always taught my children to trust the police, and I don’t think any four of those children will ever trust the police again,'” O’Hara recalled.