KillerIn an announcement that comes as a surprise to many, Danville, VA police officer, Murrill McLean, 43, who pulled the trigger on the 11 year-old 12-lb dachshund last month, has been fired!

Officer McLean claimed that when he was attempting to serve a warrant and was returning to his car, the little dog came rushing at him, growling and he had no choice but to draw his weapon and fire. The dog, affectionately named Killer, was all of 12-lbs and 11-years old.

The killing of this little senior dog outraged the community and animal advocated nationwide. The department was inundated with calls, email and an online petition. Initially the police chief, Philip Broadfoot, backed up his officer based on investigative findings. After getting more information, he ordered additional investigation and even went to the scene himself.

Today, Danville Police Chief Broadfoot fired Officer Murrill McLean and issued the following statement, saying that the situation is an embarrassment to the department, the City of Danville and to him personally.

Here is the complete statement:

Chief Philip A. Broadfoot announces new developments in the investigation of the shooting of the dachshund on June 8th.

The shooting took place on June 8th at 100 Berman Drive when a dachshund attacked Officer Murrill McLean as he was attempting to serve a warrant. The supervisor who responded to the scene did an excellent job responding to the grief of the dog’s owners, but did not properly investigate the shooting and document the evidence. The supervisor accepted McLean’s account without a detailed demonstration or explanation of how the shooting took place. A proper investigation would have shown that where Officer McLean was standing during the attack would have provided him the time, distance and means necessary to consider other options before using his firearm.

On June 10th, Deputy Chief Tom Brown raised questions about the quality of the investigation and ordered more information and pictures. The new information and pictures simply supported the original documentation. After I returned to work from my vacation on the morning of Thursday, June 11th, I used the investigation file and a personal telephone interview with Officer McLean to make my decision that the shooting was regrettable but justified under department policy.

After hearing comments in the media about bloodstain evidence at the scene that was not documented in the investigation file, I went to Berman Drive and personally looked at the scene of the shooting. My observations immediately raised questions in my mind about how the shooting actually occurred. Officer McLean could not be questioned at that time because he was out of town. Once I was able to interview him in person on June 24th, I ordered a full-scale internal affairs investigation of the entire incident.

The internal affairs investigation is now complete. The investigation determined that while Officer McLean’s fear of rabies is well founded based on several personal life experiences, his reports of how the shooting occurred were misleading and factually inaccurate. Based on these reports and a thorough review of the physical evidence, I have determined that the shooting of the dachshund did not follow department policy and was not justified. The investigation also determined that several supervisors in his chain of command did not ensure the incident was properly investigated.

As a result of the investigation, Officer McLean has been terminated from employment and disciplinary proceedings have been initiated with the supervisors for violating department policy. Because this is now a personnel matter involving discipline, I cannot give more complete details. This entire matter has been an embarrassment to the Danville Police Department, the City of Danville, and to me personally. I apologize for our failure to respond to this situation appropriately. We can do better. In fact, we regularly investigate crimes and thoroughly document the evidence. I can only conclude that this incident was not treated as the serious matter it actually was, and that attitude resulted in an incomplete and faulty investigation.

I apologize to the Harper family for the loss of their pet and pledge to them that I will make changes in our operation to ensure that nothing like this happens again. No further comments will be made concerning this matter unless new information develops.

I applaud Chief Broadfoot for taking the time and consideration to actually look into this sad incident and not try to sweep it under the carpet. So many dogs have been shot and killed by police officers and in almost every instance the officer is never found to be at blame.

Hopefully more police departments will take this as an example, the dog is not always to blame and officers are not always right. The Harper family will never be able to replace their lost baby but at least they will have the consolation of knowing that the man who killed their dog and lied, is no longer in a position to do that same to another family!

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