HAMMOND | A federal lawsuit was filed Tuesday against a Hammond police officer and the city over the June 9 shooting of a dog in front of a couple's home.
Plaintiff’s Norma Maldonado and Dario Lemus have a differing view of the incident than the Hammond Police Department.
Attorney Trent A. McCain, representing Maldonado and Lemus, issued a news release stating Hammond Officer Timothy L. Kreischer “unholstered his weapon, pointed it at the dog and fired three times, shooting the dog in the face.”
The news release said the shooting took place near to the couple's 7-year-old child at their former Hammond home.
Lilly, an 18-month-old pit bull, survived the shooting.
The news release refers to a subsequent Facebook posting from Hammond Mayor Thomas M. McDermott Jr., defending the officer’s actions and saying the dog had lunged at him in attack mode.
“Lilly neither charged at nor lunged at the officer,” McCain said. “Lilly was standing almost within arm’s length of a 7-year-old when Officer Kreischer discharged his weapon from 15-17 feet away.”
In a June 24 blog posting on the city of Hammond’s police website, Police Chief John Doughty defended the officer’s actions in response to a 911 call about a loose dog in the 6500 block of Jackson Avenue.
Doughty wrote, “The officer saw a sign and two flags in the front yard designating an electric fence had been installed to contain their dog. It announced a boundary that the dog could not pass. Note, an electric fence is against city ordinance … They can fail.”
Doughty explained when Kreischer attempted to get the attention of an adult, the dog starting running toward him. But as the officer backed up past the electric fence, the dog continued through the fence and continued running toward him.
“The dog retreated after one shot was fired,” Doughty said. “Animal Control was called to the scene. The owners were found to be in violation of several city ordinances, including no (dog) license, failure to restrain their dog and failure to maintain an actual fence.”
He said there were no children in close proximity at the time of the shooting, and police collected evidence indicating the dog had been trained to bite.
The lawsuit contends Kreischer was “intentional, unreasonable and grossly negligent” amounting to “callous or reckless indifference” to the plaintiff’s constitutional rights. The complaint seeks unspecified punitive damages and attorney fees.
Hammond Police spokesman Lt. Richard Hoyda said the department backs Kreischer’s version of events, and he has not been disciplined over the incident.