Man arrested in shooting death of dog
Wednesday, 05 December 2012 11:38

Owner: police first called it a “civil matter”

by Bill Gates

    Langport Road resident Karen Kummer first suffered the agony of watching her dog get shot and killed by a BB gun last week.
    Then, she said, the first police officer who responded to her call did not press charges against the alleged shooter.
    Speaking to WMAR-TV on Nov. 27, Kummer said the officer told her the incident was a “civil matter,” prompting Kummer to contact councilman John Olszewski Sr.’s office.
    More officers then responded, leading to the arrest of Lex L. Shifflett, 18, of the 5800 block of Bel Air Road.
   

Shifflett was charged with mutilating an animal, animal cruelty, and discharging a firearm in a metro area.
    He was released on $100,000 bail.
    Councilman Olszewski’s office confirmed receiving a call in reference to the shooting, but said the subsequent action by police was not necessarily due to the councilman’s intervention.
    Olszewski declined to be interviewed for this story, but an aide told The Eagle that the first police officer on the scene judged the incident to be a civil matter when he was told the shooter was a 12-year-old boy.
    Police returned to the scene when told the alleged shooter was actually the 18-year-old Shifflett.
    “Command officers were already looking at that decision [to call it a civil matter],” said Baltimore County Police spokeswoman Elise Armacost. “They immediately sent another officer out to review the shooting.”
    “The county is going to review the original officer’s decision-making,” Armacost said.
    She could not confirm if the first officer on the scene called it a civil matter due to being told the alleged shooter was 12 years old.
    “Whether age played a factor in the decision-making, I can’t tell,” Armacost said, noting she had not spoken to the officer in question.
    “The point of concern is the officer did not file a criminal charge against the boy,” Armacost said. “But as soon as it was reviewed [at Precinct 12], there were questions about whether the officer made the right decision and another officer was dispatched to investigate.”
    According to the police report, Kummer and her boyfriend looked outside around noon on Nov. 24 and saw two young men crouched by her backyard fence.
    Kummer told police one of the boys was holding a BB gun rifle, and the younger boy had a slingshot.
    The two young men walked away when they saw Kummer and her boyfriend watching them.
    A few minutes later, according to the report, Kummer said she heard her dogs barking, looked out the window and saw the man eventually identified as Shifflett allegedly shoot one of her dogs with the BB gun.
    The dog, a one-and-a-half-year-old Pug mix called Pup, died at the scene.
    Kummer took Pup to the Dundalk Veterinary Hospital on Wise Avenue, where cause of death was determined to be a BB pellet that penetrated the aorta and caused an internal hemorrhage.
    After the shooting, Kummer’s boyfriend reportedly chased the two boys to an address in the 400 block of Oakwood Road. The police were then contacted.
    The follow-up officers at the scene arrived at 4 p.m.
    Shifflett, who was arrested after being identified as the shooter by Kummer and her boyfriend, repeatedly told police it was the younger boy who had shot the dog.