Lafayette, IN – The Lafayette Police Department (LPD) has released bodycam footage showing the moment a female officer was shot in the shoulder by her partner as they were fleeing from an aggressive dog (video below).
Lafayette Police Officer Lane Butler has been hospitalized since late Tuesday morning, when Officer Aaron Wright discharged his weapon as they were running out of an apartment.
She is “recovering in stable condition,” the department tweeted on Thursday morning.
The LPD shooting review board has determined that the shooting was an accident, WTHR reported.
“[It] was not negligence, carelessness or otherwise reckless behavior,” Lafayette Police Chief Patrick Flannelly said during a press conference. “It was accidental.”
The incident occurred at approximately 10:50 a.m., as Officer Butler, Officer Aaron Wright, and Officer Kurt Sinks were responding to a criminal mischief complaint at an apartment on North 9th Street, WLFI reported.
The officers told the resident that they had received a report that a wanted subject was inside, and requested permission to check the apartment.
“The homeowner was very cooperative and allowed officers to search her apartment to show them the wanted person was not there,” LPD said in a press release on Tuesday.
Before they entered the home, the woman secured her “very large dog” in a cage, according to the release.
But as the officers were searching the apartment, the dog managed to break free from the kennel.
“[This] caused the officers to flee the apartment to avoid a confrontation with the animal,” LPD said.
Officer Sinks’ bodycam showed him running out of the apartment with Officer Butler directly in front of him, when a gunshot rang out and debris scattered in front of him.
Officer Wright, who was standing inside the apartment behind the open front door, had fired a bullet into the door just as Officer Butler was running by.
The bullet tore through the door and into Officer Butler’s back at close range, Officer Sinks’ bodycam footage showed.
Officer Butler immediately fell to the ground, and Officer Sinks went back to her and repeatedly asked her what happened.
Officer Wright ran out of the apartment, closing the door behind him, and immediately rushed to Officer Butler’s aid.
Although she was wearing a ballistic vest, the round struck an area the vest did not cover, the department’s press release said.
“It was my firearm,” Officer Wright told another officer as they were loading Officer Butler into an ambulance, bodycam footage showed.
The three-year department veteran was transported to a local hospital, where she remained as of Thursday morning.
“Officer Butler is an amazing public servant and is a dedicated and valued member of our agency,” the LPD’s press release said. “She is demonstrating tremendous courage and strength [as] she fights to recover from her injury.”
Officer Wright was placed on administrative leave, as per department protocol, WLFI reported.
According to WTHR, the LPD review board determined that Officer Wright’s hand bumped the open door as they were running out of the apartment, which caused his weapon to discharge.
“The shooting review board determined it was an accidental shooting in a very dynamic and stressful situation,” the department said, according to WXIN.
Due to the review board’s findings, Officer Wright will not be suspended or fired due to the shooting, Chief Flannelly said, according to WTHR.
The uninjured dog was housed at the Almost Home Humane Society temporarily, and was ultimately returned to its owner the same day.
You can watch bodycam footage of the incident in the video below: