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Hometown officer who shot dog in front of 6-year-old girl has been fired

Apollo, killed by Hometown police
Apollo, killed by Hometown police
Facebook: Justice for Apollo

According to ABC7 News Chicago, the Hometown Police Department officer who shot and killed a family dog in front of a 6-year-old child has been fired. A video is also available on the ABC link.

This Examiner article covered the story.

Apollo, a 1-year-old shepherd mix, had gotten out of his yard in the 8700 block of Beck Place in southwest Hometown, and the family had just return with him to their yard when an officer from the Hometown Police showed up.

According to owner Nicole Echlin, the officer already had his gun drawn. Nicole told NBC

“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.”

Witnesses are disturbed in that Apollo wasn't attacking or provoking officers before the shooting. Neighbor Nicco Torres described Apollo's murder

“Then I saw a cop shoot the dog, the dog fell to ground on the lawn. I saw through the window the dog was on the floor shot but the dog was still moving, it was moving its legs like it was trying to run but it was laying down.”

ABC spoke with the family following Monday's firing. Nicole described Apollo as a loving dog, and a great companion to 6-year-old Alexis.

"He (the officer) just said it had to be done. He walked up to me, told me that and walked away."

Echlin says Apollo was a loving dog, and a great companion to Alexis, who she says is handling the situation well. Alexis was originally told Apollo was only sleeping, but the little girl figured out the truth. When asked by ABC about her dog, Alexis said

"He made me laugh a lot."

This is yet another dog shot by police incident where the community banded together and refused to give up until something was done about this officer, who was a clear danger to the community.

The shooting of Apollo wasn't a he-said she-said type of case. Many residents in the area witnessed the shooting, and were horrified by the officers action.

Chief Charles Forsyth of the Hometown Police Department stated

"This has been really an emotional roller coaster for the community, naturally for the victim's family, my heart goes out to them, and it's been an emotional roller coaster for my police department."

A statement is now available on their 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 shepard/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. 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."

Thank you, Chief Forsyth, for standing up and doing the right thing. You have taken a dangerous officer off the street, and given this family some closure in the death of their beloved dog.