Child killed by police shooting at snake.


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MEH
August 4, 2007, 09:35 PM
http://newsok.com/article/3098884

NOBLE — The first shot was so loud it made the hair stand straight up on Jack Tracy's arm. The bullet hit the water just a few feet in front of the boat dock where he was standing.



Instinctively, he pulled his 5-year-old grandson, Austin Haley, close to his left side and began yelling that there were people down by the pond.

Then came the second shot, and the unforgettable thump of a 9 mm bullet penetrating a young boy's skull.

"It went right through the back of his head and came out the front,” Tracy said. "He was just bleeding severely and I knew, right then, he was most likely dead, right there.”

Unfortunately terrible things like this happen when you don't remember to "be aware of your target and what is beyond" this should be a reminder to us all… Prayers for the family of the child, and for the two police officers, this is a tragic mistake that will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

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MaterDei
August 4, 2007, 09:47 PM
Prayers for the family of the child, and for the two police officers, this is a tragic mistake that will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

I totally agree.

MEH
August 4, 2007, 09:48 PM
Can you post the whole article?? I'm lazy and don't feel like registering.

Register? you don't have to register, at least I didn't have to... :confused:

poortrader
August 4, 2007, 09:49 PM
Talk about breaking Rule #4:

"Be absolutely sure of your target, and what is behind it."

Too young to die.

.cheese.
August 4, 2007, 09:54 PM
safety rule violation.... whole thing could have been avoided had the officer remembered safety rules, and/or used snakeshot (although they don't say how far away the boy was from the officer - or do they? - even snakeshot will travel for a distance)

CTPistol
August 4, 2007, 09:58 PM
shooting 9mm at a snake in a residential neighborhood?

far from a simple "accident"

pure reckless stupidity and deserves a whole lot of jail time.

unbelieveable.

:fire:

scubie02
August 4, 2007, 10:04 PM
you have to feel terrible for everyone in this situation.

.cheese.
August 4, 2007, 10:06 PM
This incident may very well result in charges against the officer in my opinion.

I don't see any real justification for shooting the snake. Especially not without checking for safety. Wasn't a deadly situation.

Or was it? Was the officer being attacked by the snake? I think I read that it was poisonous.

DnPRK
August 4, 2007, 10:11 PM
I hope the state of Oklahoma brings negligent homicide charges and refuses to plea bargain.

The city of Noble, Oklahoma will soon be bankrupt due to loss of a huge lawsuit.

jerkface11
August 4, 2007, 10:20 PM
Wow what a shock no mention at ALL of the cop being arrested for it.

kingpin008
August 4, 2007, 10:20 PM
And we're not safe enough to own guns, right?:fire:

Those officers deserve jail. Not trying to bash cops, but that's inexcusable. No way in H#ll I'd want them "ensuring public safety."

Hardtarget
August 4, 2007, 10:25 PM
Kill a snake faster with a switch than with a pole.

No need to kill the snake...just walk away. They can't eat you, so leave them alone. Never been bitten by one that I wasn't trying to catch. :D

Mark.

Average Guy
August 4, 2007, 10:27 PM
That is messed-up beyond belief. The very definition of "negligent."

brerrabbit
August 4, 2007, 10:28 PM
Uh, the snake in question was said to be a diamondback . They do not climb trees, especially to the point of getting into a birdhouse.

There are a few non poisonous snakes that look like copperheads out here, none that look like a diamondback.

Considering the size of a slug and the width of a snake, a handgun is the wrong weapon to use. but then again a stick works every time in my experience.

Larry Ashcraft
August 4, 2007, 10:34 PM
Truly unfortunate. Prayers for all involved.

This thread can only end badly, therefore...

Closed.

carpenter
August 5, 2007, 09:26 AM
Noble, Oklahoma - A five-year-old boy is dead after a tragic mistake in which a stray bullet, meant to kill a snake, struck the boy.


It happened Friday night in Noble, about 100 miles southwest of Tulsa in Cleveland County. Officers had responded to a rural area after a family called about a snake.

Noble City Manager Bob Wade says the snake was apparently in the rafters of a home and that officers decided to shoot the snake. But, when they did so, they later heard the boy screaming.

The boy, who was apparently fishing at a nearby pond, had been struck by the gunfire. The boy was airlifted to a nearby hospital, but was pronounced dead. He was identified Saturday evening as Austin Haley.

Noble City Manager Bob Wade says he is 'devastated' by the tragedy. Meanwhile, the officer who fired the shots has been placed on routine administrative leave while the investigation continues.

http://www.ktul.com/news/stories/0807/444912.html

carpenter
August 5, 2007, 09:28 AM
That poor boy. What were the police officers thinking?

So from the story, the police shot up into the rafters. The bullet went through the roof, reached its apex and then began its descent. And by the time it reached the child, it had enough velocity/energy to kill the child.

That's just so bizarre.

Lester Flatts
August 5, 2007, 09:29 AM
Very, very sad. How about a snake-shot load, or a shotgun.

Harley Quinn
August 5, 2007, 09:33 AM
Sad to the max.

Hopefully the shooter has his gun taken away and he spends some time in rehab, never to be allowed back into Law Enforcement.

Why would you call them for that???

The citizens are as incompetent as the LEO in that location:uhoh:

MP5
August 5, 2007, 09:35 AM
Be sure of your target and everything beyond it.

Or--duh--just call an animal removal service.

Cannonball888
August 5, 2007, 09:37 AM
In the USA only 12 people have died in 20 years from domestic snakebite. How many people have been accidentally shot in the same time span? Lesson to be learned: Don't shoot at snakes.

Geno
August 5, 2007, 09:46 AM
This thread topic was just recently closed. If we are going to keep this thread open, we have to make it legit.

How could the matter have ended differently? Perhaps LEOs should have to carry 1 box of shot shells for their pistols, or 1 box of #8 shot for their shotguns.

Using buckshot on such a shot would have been equally or more dangerous. The problem is how many more pounds can a LEO's car carry before we finally have to go to all trucks.

Doc2005

General Geoff
August 5, 2007, 09:51 AM
Using buckshot on such a shot would have been equally or more dangerous.
Not at all. Buckshot does not have nearly the same ballistics properties as a bullet from a rifled barrel. Buckshot may or may not have penetrated through the roof; and even if it did, after apexing its trajectory, it would not have gained much additional velocity as the pellets are just round balls of lead, not spinning, aerodynamic bullets. Worst that would have happened is someone gets a couple of lumps on their head from a few pieces of shot.

ilbob
August 5, 2007, 09:58 AM
People do stupid sometimes. When you are handling a firearm, stupid can result in death. The three rules are important even if you carry a badge, maybe even more important.

One should not be shooting at a ceiling to kill a snake in the first place. That is just plain dumb. If you can see the snake, you can get him with a rake or a hoe.

Black Adder LXX
August 5, 2007, 10:06 AM
That is truly sad.

bumm
August 5, 2007, 10:06 AM
Obviously, it was the wrong thing to do. Why fire though the ROOF?? Still, the odds of hitting the kid out fishing were astronomically low. Yeah, a person should never fire into the air, but squirrel hunters do it all the time. Just a VERY sad situation.
Marty

Geno
August 5, 2007, 10:08 AM
Let's assume that the officer believed the snake to be a rattler. Was there any "immediate" danger that necessitated its immediate destruction? Or was there time to wait for "Animal Control"? What weapon or method would animal control have used?

There has to be someone here on THR who either works for, or has a family member/friend who works animal control.

Leatherneck
August 5, 2007, 10:18 AM
Bad judgement and bad luck enough to go around here.

But you guys are assuming an upward shot from floor to ceiling. I doubt a bullet fired upward through drywall, rafters and roof would retain enough energy to arc upward and then downward and injure the boy. Seems more likely to me that it was a horizontal shot that overpenetrated the siding and struck the boy. i.e., direct fire.

TC

Geno
August 5, 2007, 10:22 AM
Did some searching: over 500 threads with "animal control" but only about 60 with "snake control".

I found this thread: http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=201645&highlight=snake+control in which our good friend 84B20 stated that he "...tried to kill a rattler that was attempting to enter (his) house with 8 rounds of .45cal snake shot from about 5 feet away and it barely fased him. I'm a good shot and had pleanty of time to aim but all it did was open a small wound..."

Tim Burke
August 5, 2007, 10:28 AM
This has already been discussed, and closed.

Iggy
August 5, 2007, 10:32 AM
Guess some folks ain't heard about shovels!!!:evil:

Snakes just ain't that danged dangerous if you respect them a little bit.

Now I ain't sayin' don't kill them, but you can pick you time and place. Sometimes a stick and some common sense is more appropriate than a gun....:rolleyes:

Geno
August 5, 2007, 10:35 AM
The discussion is how to handle such a situation safely. I did a search of "snake control" and have found several interesting takes. Some people believe that shotshells for pistol are effective others say they are not.

xjer
August 5, 2007, 10:39 AM
This article says the snake was in a bird house.
http://newsok.com/article/3098884

This link shows a slide show of the area.
http://downloads.newsok.com/flash_video/theoklahoman/slideshows/080507-5yroldshot/

Horrible situation for everyone. I can not imagine what the little boys
family or the police officer must be going through.

Mike

XavierBreath
August 5, 2007, 10:42 AM
This subject has indeed been discussed and the thread closed.

It is extremely pertinent though. Rule Four. Be sure of your target and what is behind it. (http://xavierthoughts.blogspot.com/2006/06/rule-four.html)

If this thread ends up a cop bashing thread, it will be closed again.

If this thread remains a venue to stress the importance of the Four Rules (http://www.lightlink.com/critters/gunsafety.htm) and a means of remembrance for the deceased, I see no reason why this thread should not remain open.

Regarding the apparent discrepancy: Judging from the photos, the snake was near or in a bird house underneath the corrugated fiberglass roof of a patio.

Yes, mistakes were made. Let's not beat our chests and claim it could never happen to us. Let's remember that a single lapse in judgement can transform any of us into the catalyst of a tragedy.

I pray for the boy, his parents, his grandfather, and also for the officer who fired that shot. May they all find comfort, or at least resolution, somehow.

silverlance
August 5, 2007, 10:46 AM
This is truly a bizarre story.

Cop shoots at in ceiling of bird house, kills boy fishing at a pond.

IMHO, police officers should be issued birdshot to go with the squad car's shotgun. I can think of a whole lot of critters that could be dispatched with a load of 12g birdshot better than with a handgun.

has anyone here killed a snake before? I never have... when I saw them in the woods they were mainly going about their own business and i just stepped real clear.

I do remember one creepy incident several years ago when i was night hiking.. i was irritated by this reptitive rattling sound.. for a good 10 minutes... when i finally realized that it was a rattlesnake.

i stopped dead cold and the sound stopped. when i moved, it began again.

scared the bejeezus out of me since it was pitch black and the weeds were quite overgrown on that mountainside.

i tried real hard to keep going forward but then just gave up, turned aorund, and went home.


I am curious, though. where did you get your stats for only 12 snake bite deaths per hear?

Geno
August 5, 2007, 10:51 AM
I personally prefer the CCI .22LR shot shells and the CCI .22 Mag shotshells. But, again I ask, how much more equipment could LEOs be expected to carry before there is no more room in their car? In my case, I am not restricted to the area of a car...I have a whole house to store supplies that may be needed infrequently.

Another thought that comes to mind is location. In many areas, such as where I was born and raised, the LEOs were the animal control. That continued to be until fairly recent. I suspect that in many areas this is still the case.

R.W.Dale
August 5, 2007, 10:56 AM
Let's assume that the officer believed the snake to be a rattler. Was there any "immediate" danger that necessitated its immediate destruction? Or was there time to wait for "Animal Control"? What weapon or method would animal control have used?


OH COME ON! I challenge you to come up with a situation where that would be even REMOTELY believable that requires as you put it "necessitated its immediate destruction?"

There are a multitude of better AND SAFER snake killin choices than a handgun.

Rakes
Hoes
Weedwakers
Lawmnowers
Cars
Machete
Rock
Stick
Boot
Oxy Acetylene torch
Cat

I've used them all they all work great even on poisonous species

Cannonball888
August 5, 2007, 11:09 AM
"Then two officers came out of the brush over there,” he said. "They didn't tell us they were the ones who had been shooting or that they had shot him. They didn't admit a doggone thing.”

:mad:

XavierBreath
August 5, 2007, 11:19 AM
"Then two officers came out of the brush over there,” he said. "They didn't tell us they were the ones who had been shooting or that they had shot him. They didn't admit a doggone thing.” :mad:Cannonball888, to expect the officers to "admit" to anything, to distraught family members no less, rather than staying quiet until they obtain legal counsel is asking a bit much, don't you think? I don't quite understand you "mad" smilie here.

Far better that the LEOs try to render whatever assistance they can, and alert and organize EMS.

Let's stay away from bashing, or this thread will be closed as well.

To expect the law enforcement officers to function as animal control is asking a bit much as well. Why not expect the homeowner to simply take a shovel, knock the snake down, and chop it in two? Why does law enforcement even need to be present to do this?

Harley Quinn
August 5, 2007, 11:23 AM
Days of old and no good snake shot loads to be found I made up a gun and load to do the job.

I had a 45 1917 model (used clips to hold the rounds in the revolver) I bought the gun from a guy who bulged the barrel and had it hacksawed off at 3".

I gave it to a gunsmith I knew, he cleaned it up and put a sight on the barrel and reamed the cylinders out to accept the 06 family of cases.
I used 308 most of all and 06 to cut down and put a load of shot in along with a 44 cal gas check, to hold the shot in, it was a real snake killer to the max.

The 308 die was perfect to set the gas check with the shoulder angle doing the work in the dies. I used #8 s and unique powder with a wad over the powder (between the powder and the shot). It was a killer on potato's at 15 feet:D If the gas check hit a snake (did numerous times) it would cut them almost in half.:what: I still have that revolver somewhere deep in the safe.:)

Geno
August 5, 2007, 11:25 AM
Let's keep the tone positive, and regarding how to do it right. If this thread goes negative, it too will simply get closed. No one benefits from closed threads.

I wonder, in the area that this happened, was there an Animal Control officer? If yes, was he or she available?

Another point that I would make is that while some weapons are more or less effective, if it is the only weapon that you have at the second the crisis happens, it is likely what one will use.

Ergo, we come back to foresight and planning. Should LEOs carry shotshells for their pistols, or say #8 shot for their shotguns? And if so, what other unforeseen situation might next arise requiring yet other ammo or weapons?

After-thought. I don't believe that anyone has yet contributed a thought of...what if the LEO had a snake phobia? It is possible.

Edit to add:

XavierBreath:

I agree, it is wrong to expect LEOs to function as animal control. It is an entire separate profession, and requires fully different tools, weapons and tactics. Thank-you for supporting that position.

Art Eatman
August 5, 2007, 11:35 AM
After reading the article, what is to be learned is what was said above: Know what's behind your intended target. And that's the old, proverbial good-judgement thing.

I guess what this does indeed illustrate is how the sight of a snake can affect people's thinking and subsequent behavior. I've seen folks who normally are cool, calm and collected go absolutely bonkers at the sight of a snake.

Who said what to whom and when is pretty much irrelevant. The guy made a truly serious error in judgement. That it was a cop is pretty much beside the point. It could just as easily have been a neighbor, or the complainant's husband had he been home...

Art

Larry Ashcraft
August 5, 2007, 11:37 AM
The thread last night went downhill fast.

I'm not against discussing this as long as it remains civil. Bashing cops in general posts will simply disappear.

ilbob
August 5, 2007, 11:38 AM
That it was a cop is pretty much beside the point. It could just as easily have been a neighbor, or the complainant's husband had he been home.

What he said. Any one can have a lapse in judgment now and then.

Although I have a hard time understanding shooting at a snake in a birdhouse with a handgun. It would seem really unlikely that you could kill a snake that way. The chances of hitting the snake in a way that would kill it seem remote.

XavierBreath
August 5, 2007, 11:42 AM
I wonder, in the area that this happened, was there an Animal Control officer? If yes, was he or she available?According to one news story, animal control had been discontinued in Noble OK due to lack of funds.

Correction: The story states they "lost" the animal control officer. It could have been death, lack of funds, or a host of other reasons. At any rate, Animal Control was not an option.

The woman, who would not identify herself, told The Oklahoman she called the police station to see if animal control could respond and take care of the snake, which she believed to be a diamondback rattlesnake. She was told that the city, which lost its only animal control officer recently, would send a police officer over to help.

Law officers, firemen, and other professionals are often asked to perform jobs that are technically outside their area of expertise. They are in a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. I feel for all involved.

Geno
August 5, 2007, 11:45 AM
Art just reminded me of something...my Grandfather! I have never met a human being so fearful of snakes as he was. Even at 93 years of age, this retired farmer would take off in a "sprint" at the sight of any snake, even if 12" short! In his mind's eye, all snakes were deadly and evil! At all other times he was rationale, calm and cool...but even say the word snake, and he became visibly on edge. He would run to the house, grab his 16 gauge shotgun, a few shotshells and go "hunting". He never went to the fields without his loyal collie, "Lady". She hated snakes as-much-as he. If she didn't get the snake, he surely would.

XavierBreath:

Thanks for the info Re: Animal Control! Now, we have confirmed one fact of the what-went-wrong. Forcing LEOs to be animal control. It isn't right. The officers who apply to Animal Control are comfortable with animals. A road officer may or may not be so. Forcing LEOs to be Animal Control makes as-little sense-as asking a nurse to perform the surgery because they both have been in the operating room.

Harley Quinn
August 5, 2007, 11:50 AM
Well I am thinking...
Maybe a few snake shot loads would not be a bad idea in your briefcase (that area or any for that matter).
But the biggest objection I have to this is calling a LEO to do a simple thing as remove a snake???

Fear is a terrible thing so maybe that is the answer for all of them:uhoh:
As Doc mentions.

Geno
August 5, 2007, 12:07 PM
My next thought turns to the county commissioners. After cutting Animal Control, did they dedicate one or two officers for Animal Control training?! Even at least one day?! The equipment is not the same. That fact alone, in my eyes, is a huge short-coming, and not on the LEO's part.

Most unfortunately, I believe that I already now the answer to that question. I bet no one was trained up, and the equipment and supplies were simply stored away in some random a room.

murph50
August 5, 2007, 12:08 PM
I make my living as a Wildlife Control Operator.
First my condolences to the family of this boy and I also feel bad for the Officers involved. Very sad situation.
That said.
LEO's are not trained to deal with wildlife situations. We often have problems when homeowners call LE or attempt to do something themselves and basically screw things up. Often this is because a homeowner does not want to spend the money to have a professional solve the problem.
From what I've read here concerning this situation here are some of the ways I may have approached this.
The snake was seen sticking out of a birdhouse. This does not appear to be a threat to human health or safety so I would not even consider lethal control.
If the snake was a large diameter--I may have used a catchpole. Often called rabies pole. Mine is a 4' long pole with a wire loop on the end that can be tightened around the animal.
For smaller diameter snakes I would just use a snakepole. This is a pole with graspers on the end that is designed to safely catch the snake.
Using either of these methods the snake could then be put into one of my snakebags and released away from human habitat.
If the snake had retreated into the birdhouse, which is highly likely, I would have simply stapled a piece of wire mesh over the entry and taken the birdhouse to a safe release area then bring them back their birdhouse.
Unfortunately with the urbanization of our country,most folks now-a-days don't know how to handle wildlife situations due to their lack of knowledge about wildlife. People will often take drastic measures when those measures are not needed. That's what appears to have happened in this case and the drastic and fatal results are a sad thing indeed that could have been avoided if a professional had been involved.

Geno
August 5, 2007, 12:12 PM
murph50...now we're makin' hay!!! Thanks for the professional insights.

XavierBreath
August 5, 2007, 12:17 PM
Doc, you are making good points on the Animal Control.

Still, that does not provide an excuse for the use of a firearm in that instance, in that location. Even if the snake were hit by a 9mm bullet, shooting upwards, there would be no backstop for the bullet. The bullet would perforate the viper and keep traveling. The decision to use the gun shows either a misunderstanding or a disregard for basic gun safety.

If the snake were on the ground, I could understand the use of a pistol. Even then though, a hoe would be preferable, assuming the snake even needed to be killed. Far to many snakes die due to frantic misidentification. As a result, rats multiply.

While the officers are not Animal Control officers, they are the custodians of their sidearms. They are responsible for the weapons, and the bullets inside the weapons. The officer, being trained to safely use his weapon, should not have used it in this instance. There was not a sufficient backstop, and the danger of the snake's presence was not threatening enough to take that kind of chance. The decision to use the pistol was a bad decision, and the officer is responsible for that decision, whether he has a snake phobia or not. As Kay Miculek once told me, every bullet in your gun has a lawyer attached to it. It's a sobering thought.

Murph50, I wonder, could a stiff fishing rod with the line looped back through the top eyelet be used as an improvised catch pole on a snake?

joab
August 5, 2007, 12:36 PM
This to me is also a perfect opportunity to point out inconsistencies in reporting and why there is always a call for more info in these types of threads

I also am a nuisance wildlife trapper

Not only would we never shoot a snake in the rafters, we are not even allowed to have firearms on our trucks
I do but it's a secret
Catch poles and snake tongs are it for us
Sealing the snake in is also a very good option

One thing not mentioned yet is that it is very atypical behavior for a rattlesnake to climb a house
Low lying trees and shrubs maybe but not houses
If this snake was as big as it seems to be I would almost guarantee that a thick heavy bodied snake like that would not be able to climb up to rafters

murph50
August 5, 2007, 12:37 PM
Xavierbreath
On a small snake maybe. I would think that the fishing line would be too thin and would likely get tangled easily and /or cut the snake. I have made several of my own catchpoles by screwing an eyehook on the end of a pole--tying a piece of rope to the eyehook then feed the rope through the pole so the rope can be tightened. If a fishing pole has large enough eyelets I would think it would be better to tie a piece of rope to the end of the pole and then feed the rope back through the eyelets.

XavierBreath
August 5, 2007, 12:44 PM
I was just trying to think of something that could be quickly improvised in the moment of crisis Murph. Perhaps a piece of 3/4 PVC pipe and 1/4 inch rope would be better, assuming the PVC and rope was available.

It would be bad if the fishing rod flexed back at you, wouldn't it? :what:

murph50
August 5, 2007, 12:49 PM
It would be bad if the fishing rod flexed back at you, wouldn't it?

Yea --sometimes the best option is to just run away from the snake--LOL
And yes --the PVC and rope would work. That might be a good thing to carry with your fishing gear

revjen45
August 5, 2007, 12:54 PM
Single-projectile (i.e. non-shot) loads don't seem to be the right tool for snakes. I watched a fellow who was out plinking with us wig out at the sight of a rattlesnake on the ground in front of him and empty the 15-rd mag of an M-1 carbine at it. Every shot missed at less than 10 feet, and he was less than careful about where he was shooting and where the rest of the party was. Since we were out in the open country he should have just avoided stepping on it and both could have gone their ways in peace. As mentioned in an earlier post, some people have an unreasonable fear of snakes and react irrationally.

tulsamal
August 5, 2007, 01:03 PM
So from the story, the police shot up into the rafters. The bullet went through the roof, reached its apex and then began its descent. And by the time it reached the child, it had enough velocity/energy to kill the child.

I don't think that's quite right. If the bullet had gone that far, it would have had far less energy. The story says the bullet penetrated both sides of the boy's skull. That bullet didn't fly a mile and then do that. My personal guess is they were within a couple hundred yards and just couldn't be seen because of vegetation.

On a positive note, we all need to learn from something like this. I've already sat my nine year old boy down and told him this story. I made some mistakes when I was that age with a pellet rifle. He needs to understand "the rules" aren't just stupid ideas made up by old people. If you don't follow them, people can very well get killed.

Channel 8 in Tulsa last night had the story but at the time I was totally confused. They started the story saying it was suspected that a cop had shot this boy. But then they interviewed the grandfather. He told the whole story but without mentioning the cops at all. And then they finished the story. Without once mentioning why they thought cops had shot the boy?! When it ended, I was yelling at the screen. It's like somebody was so afraid of saying something wrong that they just cut everything except the grandfather interview. Weird. If I hadn't read the story here, I wouldn't have understood what happened at all.

Gregg

BBQJOE
August 5, 2007, 01:05 PM
I have a home in the desert. We have rattlers around many times during the year.
The old adage of they are as afraid of you as you are of them is true.
When we first moved into the desert, we killed every single one we saw.
The next few seasons were wrought with mouse and rat damage.
The rats were so prolific and destructive you just wouldn't believe it.
They will move into a car that hasn't been in use, and completely chew up every single wire in the engine compartment.
They will turn the whole engine area into a nest. Packing it with cactus, sticks, dung, and eventually tear the upholstery apart for nesting material.

We decided after that, we would not kill snakes again. They do have a job to perform.

That said, some people do absolutely freak out at the sight of a snake causing radical behavior. As long as you stay away from the sharp end you are fine.

I have had some that I could not snare and move to an out of the way place.
The best option I found was bird shot from a .22 pistol.
Very effective without any long range travel.

Did this snake need to be killed?
I seriously doubt it.

It goes to show that just because you have a gun, it is not always the appropriate tool for a given job.

Geno
August 5, 2007, 01:06 PM
Agreed Re responsibility for controlling the rounds but I am trying to keep discussion 100% positive or neutral, and therefore discuss only alternatives or possibile what-ifs. :)

I personally have used a garden rake for dispatching snakes that would not depart the area. My experience indicates that most snakes have no more desire to be near humans that what my Grandfather had desire to be near them. A garden rake works great for picking them up and moving them, and that's a lot of handle for distance. I have no doubt my Grandfather would use the tong end to mince them though. :scrutiny:

Edit to add, thanks to the Animal Control experts for their factual experiences and thoughts. Thanks to all for keeping this thread positive.

RubenZ
August 5, 2007, 01:10 PM
Single-projectile (i.e. non-shot) loads don't seem to be the right tool for snakes. I watched a fellow who was out plinking with us wig out at the sight of a rattlesnake on the ground in front of him and empty the 15-rd mag of an M-1 carbine at it.

That Fellow needs shooting lessons :)

For snake killing I usually use my side-arm. In this case it was a 9mm Ruger. One shot, nice clean kill to the head. Snake was in excellent skinning, eating condition after.

http://panam4.panam.edu/~rzamora8/IMG_6750.JPG

Keep in mind fellows. That Rattlers have been known to willingly follow you to try and bite you. In that case, trust me, like said above, single projectiles are VERY HARD to use.


This story is very very tragic.The way it was executed was wrong on so many levels. For starters, snakes are NOT that dangerous. Any household tool could have done the job way better and that young boy would be enjoying more fishing trips right now.

hso
August 5, 2007, 01:22 PM
I've merged the two threads on this tragedy.

There isn't anything to be said that hasn't been said in the discussion of this event. Pest control options. Negligent use of a firearm resulting in the death of an innocent. Negligence on the part of the Department for possibly not providing training when making animal control an additional duty of the LEOs and possible negligence in firearms safety. The possible civil and criminal consequences of the negligent homicide. The ethical and moral responsibility that comes with carrying a firearm. The overwhelming tragedy of it all.

All we have left is to offer support in our individual ways for those that need it and for all of us to learn from this tragic lesson so we're never part of the cause for such a loss.

ClarkEMyers
August 5, 2007, 03:03 PM
I don't think this has been said.

There is a strong argument that when shots are falling around you
move fast and far first

- then start yelling or whatever seems appropriate.

Anybody disagree? Compare with move off the spot in force on force training.

Sometimes in the hunting or plinking field the shots may be coming from some distance and the shooter will keep shooting - and not hear or respond to shouts or whistles or waving flags - notice that it is unwise in the deer woods to wave a white flag.

As for snakes in the yard a sharp hoe has always worked for me and mine; in the fields and woods sometimes walking around instead of stepping over and into a blind spot is a good idea.

Harley Quinn
August 5, 2007, 03:26 PM
I am thinking it was not something that was straight up, it was more like a 45 degree or less I am thinking.


I noticed this locked at one time :what:

The whole thing (shooting at a snake above your head) is beyond comprehension for me, to be honest.

I could see it if I had the revolver I have mentioned in a prior post. Otherwise, no. :confused:

Sort of reminds me of people shooting at birds in the trees etc.:eek:

Geronimo45
August 5, 2007, 04:23 PM
some people have an unreasonable fear of snakes and react irrationally.
Some people have seen Snakes On A Plane, and/or Indiana Jones.

Should LEOs carry shotshells for their pistols, or say #8 shot for their shotguns? And if so, what other unforeseen situation might next arise requiring yet other ammo or weapons?

Good question. I'd advocate a packet of snakeshot for the issue handguns, I guess... calls for snake removal would probably be in situations where using a hoe would be difficult, and likely where a shotgun would be unwieldy. Snake under the couch, in the kitchen cabinet. Also think that using buckshot in that situation would've surely killed the snake... and probably blown the birdhouse apart. That's obviously of much less importance than the kid's life - but what the officer(s) saw only involved getting rid of the snake without doing too much damage to civvie property.

Of course, you could have a department-issued cat (in tactical black for the big cities).

Cannonball888
August 5, 2007, 04:24 PM
The LEOs overreacted in this situation through irrational fear. As mentioned earlier the snake should have been removed by professionals who have training and knowledge rather than only fear of these creatures.

I never shot or killed a snake out of fear because I never have feared them. I was an exotic venomous snake breeder for five years back when I was single. I bred everything from rattlesnakes and cobras to african vipers. Rattlesnakes are lap dogs compared to some.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v45/Cannonball888/license.jpg

jaholder1971
August 5, 2007, 05:15 PM
This shooting was stupid as well as criminal and it matters not who did it.

Whoever did do it needs to stand tall in front of a judge and jury.

hso
August 5, 2007, 05:27 PM
I want to compliment everyone so far in remembering that we keep discussions about tragedies like this civil, even when we can relate to the grief of the parents and the horror of having this happen to a child of ours.

Well done, folks.

3006mv
August 5, 2007, 05:28 PM
Animal Control Officers or private pest control operators or USDA Wildlife Specialists would catch snakes with snake tongs and snake hooks some brave ones just use bare hands and then put the snake in a bucket w/ a locking lid. If they have access to firearms it is usually a shotgun.

Picknlittle
August 5, 2007, 05:34 PM
Funny thing about Tennessee,...snakes are protected by law. I didn't know that until a few days ago when I was researching venomous snakes in middle TN.

Can't say as I'd let that tidbit stop me from poppin a copperhead or three.

I guess they had to pass such a law to protect TN politicians and lawyers.:evil:

eric.cartman
August 5, 2007, 05:38 PM
We are the ONLY ones professional enough to kill a snake...

:banghead::banghead::banghead:

What a terrible waste of a life :fire:

Elza
August 5, 2007, 05:51 PM
In our town (20 to 25 thousand residents) animal control is only available from 8 to 5. After hours and on weekends it falls to the LEO’s. I suspect that this is more common than people realize.

waterhouse
August 5, 2007, 06:09 PM
Just out of curiosity, do any LEOs here have any small shot available for their issue shotguns?

We were only permitted to carry issued ammunition, which for us was low recoil buck. I'm just wondering if anyone has something like 7.5 available for such an odd situation.

Thoughts and prayers go out to the family, what a terrible thing to happen.

As for animal control and LEOs, we've had deer get stuck on or in our fence a couple times, and wounded deer hit in or near the neighborhood. The Sheriff's Office always responds. Once when the stuck deer was freaking out, the SO called an animal control expert who told him to put a bag over the deer's head and compress the ribcage by hand and back the deer out the way it went in. This method worked very well. My only point is that around here the LEOs usually respond for animal related stuff, but at least they have someone they can call if things get beyond their knowledge base.

Deanimator
August 5, 2007, 06:33 PM
Unlike a lot of recent incidents, I don't see malice in this case, merely gross negligence.

People who know me, know I'm exceptionally hard on the police when they misbehave. In this case, I'm not sure the cop should go to jail. He HAS to be fired though, because he's an extreme menace to the public at large, both because of his egregious gun handling skills and his utter lack of judgement. As long as he's drawing a city paycheck and toting a gun, the public should rightfully have doubts about the quality of the adult supervision of that force. He needs to take a huge financial hit. His alleged remorse, even if it's real, does nothing for the family. Since he can't bring the kid back, he has to feel SOME pain for his stupidity.

As for the department, I'm sure a quick perusal of their firearm training POI would tell an interesting tale. If it doesn't include the NRA fundamentals of shooting, at least in administrative situations, they're negligent.

obxned
August 5, 2007, 06:49 PM
At very least, these incompetent idiots need serious jail time.

Autolycus
August 5, 2007, 06:54 PM
In my hometown the animal control officers were fully sworn LE officers with extra training. It was like a K9 officer, an investigator, or other specialized officer.

I remember that if the animal was seen as harmless they would have community service officers (basically kids who wanted to be cops) chase down the dogs and cats. Then once they got them the animal control officer would come and collect the animal.

Either way I dont think the officer intended to kill the child and that the officers in question should have exercised better judgement. I do expect the town to be sued as it is a horrible tragedy and the officers could have used another of other options that were less risky to others.

Lucky
August 5, 2007, 07:09 PM
Methinks perhaps some LEO community has been putting pressure on a certain forum to keep some things undiscussed.

The best way to prevent this from happening is with stiff sentences, of course. How can the 4 rules be respected if you can murder someone and get away with it? Homicide (or infanticide) should be a crime, period. If driving while drunk is a crime then so should be shooting while stupid, and fatalities arising from SWS should be prosecuted, I'm afraid.

JohnBT
August 5, 2007, 07:12 PM
Animal control? They're lucky to be able to afford a cop or two. According to the last census, the entire town only had 5260 people in it.

John

Autolycus
August 5, 2007, 07:14 PM
Then wouldnt the state or county help out in regards to animal control?

Bazooka Joe71
August 5, 2007, 07:14 PM
If driving while drunk is a crime then so should be shooting while stupid

LOL

Thats just priceless. Thank you for that.

Neo-Luddite
August 5, 2007, 07:24 PM
The horrible thing is that such very solid cautionary examples come at such a horrible price. Like many people, I would guess, I can see myself making a poor choice like this in the heat of the moment; and on the face of things the raw odds of such a tragedy are probably quite slim--but THAT did nothing to change the outcome. I'm going to pick up some shot loads for my wife's revolver--does anyone have a good brand to recommend in .38 spl?

Geronimo45
August 5, 2007, 07:28 PM
does anyone have a good brand to recommend in .38 spl?
Only ones I know of are CCI.

Neo-Luddite
August 5, 2007, 07:28 PM
That's what I've seen, too. Thanks.

hso
August 5, 2007, 07:57 PM
All I've seen lately is the CCI as well, but the simple use of hoe or shovel (or, preferably, avoidance) works for most snakes.

Kentak
August 5, 2007, 08:13 PM
Such a tragedy and senseless death of a young child. I'm sure the officer is devastated, and rightly so. While it's best to withhold final judgment until the investigation is compete, it might be understandable that an officer might not be able to take the ultimate trajectory of a bullet into account if in a running gunfight, but in a deliberate animal control situation? Not good.

K

shooter503
August 5, 2007, 08:25 PM
I find the "irrational fear" suggestion interesting. A few years ago an academic in Florida or Georgia video taped the reaction of drivers to a rubber snake he put in the road. They deliberately drove over the "snake" even backing up and running over it several times. On more than one occasion the driver shot the snake just to make sure.

I will try to find the video, it is pretty amusing.

jerkface11
August 5, 2007, 09:15 PM
I would have tasered it. Shooting it probably wouldn't have even occurred to me.

Wild Deuce
August 5, 2007, 09:42 PM
I hope the powers-that-rule THR would take into consideration that we are often beaten over the head with the "leave it to the professionals" argument by the anti's. Even some in law enforcement (not all) have used that argument ... "I'm the only one professional enough that I know of ... !" Anyone remember the DEA agent with his GLOCK? Some LEOs even believe this mantra. I know some of them.

As tragic as this incident is, it serves no good to brush over the fact that it was a professional that messed up. I can not even begin to imagine the horror that has befallen this officer that swore to serve and to protect. Compound that horror for the family of the child and you can begin to see the magnitude of this tragedy.

Yes, we should soberly review all the facts of this incident ... including the fact that it was a LEO and resolve ourselves to never be complacent.

Geno
August 5, 2007, 09:46 PM
I can assure anyone upset with the officer, that at least in his own mind, no one can beat him down as badly as he is beating himself down, regardless of what he says or does in public. Do not kick a dog when it's down. I live by that motto.

JohnBT
August 5, 2007, 09:47 PM
"Methinks perhaps some LEO community has been putting pressure on a certain forum to keep some things undiscussed."

I don't. I'd bet they're just like me - tired of the whining and the multiple posts piling on whenever an officer makes a mistake. You know you've seen it. A post states an officer did something or other and then there are 15 or 20 posts about all the "blankety-blank-dadgummed worthless cops." That's just plain old pointless bashing that adds nothing to the discussion.

Anybody figured out precisely where the nest was in the rafters?

John

jerkface11
August 5, 2007, 09:51 PM
Anytime a cop kills an innocent person and gets away with it I complain. Call it cop bashing if you like if that's what it is then some of them need bashing. He should have known better and a child is dead because he didn't think before he shot. If he had not been a cop he'd be in jail right now. No one would be defending him.

Art Eatman
August 5, 2007, 09:58 PM
Wild Deuce, I was rather startled back in 1981 and the ensuing IPSC years, discovering that most of Austin's cops had little to no interest in skill with a handgun. A buddy of mine was the Range Officer, and he continually griped about how much hassle it was to get guys to qualify. Practice on their own time? Er, uh, in a word, no. We never had any cop or deputy ever get involved with IPSC, even with no fees for officers on active duty.

This last quarter-century may have seen some amount of improvement, but it's nowhere near a universal practice.

Still, I see it as less a cop issue or a gun issue, than a judgement issue. Common sense. Maturity. Calmness.

It's just a stoopid snake! Fer cryin' out loud, it ain't a charging rhinocerous!

jerkface, nobody has gotten away with anything. While it's possible that negligent homicide charges could be filed, the initial view would be of an accidental shooting--which indeed it was. A non-cop would not necessarily have been arrested; the deal could readily be treated the same as a hunting accident. Hunting accidents are often just as stupid and avoidable as was this event. It's all up to the Grand Jury, since it's common procedure that the findings of homicide investigations are brought there.

Art

Deanimator
August 5, 2007, 10:01 PM
I can assure anyone upset with the officer, that at least in his own mind, no one can beat him down as badly as he is beating himself down, regardless of what he says or does in public. Do not kick a dog when it's down. I live by that motto.
That might be... or not. I don't know, and neither do you.

The guy could be on the verge of suicide or he could simply not care at all.

What's important is that he find some other career path which offers him fewer opportunities to express his poor judgement in lethal ways, involuntarily if necessary.

Deanimator
August 5, 2007, 10:02 PM
It's just a stoopid snake! Fer cryin' out loud, it ain't a charging rhinocerous!
Seems like he saw too many giant snake movies on SciFi recently...

Deanimator
August 5, 2007, 10:07 PM
Anytime a cop kills an innocent person and gets away with it I complain. Call it cop bashing if you like if that's what it is then some of them need bashing.
1. We don't yet know that he's going to "get away with it". He could be in the police career checkout lane now. He could even face criminal prosecution. I KNOW the family is going leave him without a pot to piss in.

2. This doesn't even begin to hold a candle to the Weems case. It's not like he INTENTIONALLY shot the kid, then went about his business as though nothing happened. Nor apparently has he lied about what happened, much less having the police chain of command lie for him. Weems ought to spend the rest of his life in prison. This guy probably needs to get fired and sued into grinding poverty. He didn't even see the kid, much less intentionally shoot him.

I guarantee you, there's nobody here who's a more vicious critic of the police than me. I just don't think that this can be compared to an intentional act of murder.

jerkface11
August 5, 2007, 10:26 PM
I didn't compare it to intentional murder. It was negligent homicide and should be treated as such. I have a feeling it won't be though.

SSN Vet
August 5, 2007, 10:32 PM
my $0.02.............negligence....pure and simple

know your target and what's beyond!

"so and so said there was a field back there" is not KNOWING anything.

I suspect they had a 12 ga. in the car......

use the right tool for the job.....

My town has ~6,500 residents......and we have an volunteer animal control officer, just like we have a volunteer fire dept.

Had to have a bat tested for rebbies last month...the volunteer handled it just fine.

Deaf Smith
August 5, 2007, 10:36 PM
Noble, Oklahoma, Estimated population in July 2006: 5,591.

It was a small town. I bet just a few cops. I bet they were also low paid and not real well trained. Just a couple of guys who on the spure of the moment decided to shoot the snake out of the tree.

I presume most LEOs still have a shotgun in the car (at least for such a small town) and bird shot would have been much more perferable if you had to shoot anything out of a tree.

9mm will go about a mile, and there are already a few known cases of bullets being shot near cities and killing people.

Yes this will be a can of worms for that city. And my prayers do go for both the parents of the child and the cops. That quick decision has destroyed many lives.

James T Thomas
August 5, 2007, 10:41 PM
Something about this initial report says that information is being witheld and controled. And not so much by the police or municipal government either.

Doesn't this suggest a rationale of "those horrible guns; if they are too dangerous in the hands of a police officer, then, they certainly should not be allowed in the hands of the public!" You just can't trust anyone. Etc.

I just don't trust -the print or electronic media.

Art Eatman
August 5, 2007, 11:02 PM
Lordy, don't get too paranoid about "the news". From here on out, it's not gonna be anything but speculation, anyway. Just as we don't accept the newsies' view of our own "world of guns", I see no reason to accept as Gospel whatever comes out before the investigation is completed.

Art

Reyn
August 6, 2007, 12:28 AM
As an LEO i honestly dont understand what they were thinking. I would never take a shot at a snake under those circumstances and cant imagine how they couldnt come up with a better alternative. My superiors would also never condone taking this kind of action. Im wondering if this was a person who was terrified of snakes and just panicked when he saw it. We've had to answer a call of a rattler in a house but we used a shovel the homeowner had. Snakes dont scare me but dang spiders do.:uhoh:

Nomad101bc
August 6, 2007, 12:31 AM
They make a great pistol shotgun load specificaly for shooting snakes with your .45 sounds like some rookie who wanted to for once fire his weapon while on duty.

BTW snake control is simple its called a large shovel preferably snow shovel and just use it like a guilotine. Worked great whenever they had rattlers wander on the baseball fields in CA.

hso
August 6, 2007, 12:50 AM
Folks,

It's too soon to actually know anything except the facts of what happened. Predicting how the officers will be treated by the legal system is no more realistic than predicting the turn of a card on the first cut of the deck.

We know the actions of the officers resulted in the death of a child. We can not predict the future nor how the family will act or what the legal system will do with respect to the officers. Only time will tell. Anybody that does is either a bigot or a fool and is wasting their time here instead of the betting halls, lottery kiosks and stock market. :rolleyes:

The majority of folks at THR are more interested in the facts and understand that those will come out as the situation continues to develop. Those that can't wait for the facts play the same game as the pointless newsies who have to fill airtime regardless of whether they have anything valuable to say.:banghead:

Lucky
August 6, 2007, 12:56 AM
Johnbt When members cry for justice be done for other criminals in other crimes, it's not bashing. But when it's someone you can relate to, it suddenly is bashing.

And 'mistake'. What a quaint way to put it.

But feel free to call this bashing too and demand the thread be closed yet again. Eventually people will catch on that something's funny.

I don't. I'd bet they're just like me - tired of the whining and the multiple posts piling on whenever an officer makes a mistake. You know you've seen it. A post states an officer did something or other and then there are 15 or 20 posts about all the "blankety-blank-dadgummed worthless cops." That's just plain old pointless bashing that adds nothing to the discussion.

brentn
August 6, 2007, 01:01 AM
HOLY ****

This is crazy. I know what they were thinking, they got lazy and instead of calling some wildlife officials to get the snake out, they thought it would be fun to try and shoot it out... I'm sure they had no idea what could have happened, but I gaurentee you that they are ****ting themselves right now waiting to find out whats going to happen to them when they get back to work.

randyman_ar
August 6, 2007, 01:59 AM
Just put my 2 year old Grand Daughter to bed a couple of hours ago. Man this breaks my heart!! I feel so bad for the child and his family. But I also feel bad for the policeman responsible. Its not like he was a gangbanger! Just had a total lapse of common sense!

silverlance
August 6, 2007, 02:06 AM
this is SLIGHTLY off topic. but when you guys are hunting, do you actually trust your snake boots to protect you?

in the case of this tragedy, could the LEOs have legitimately said, "sorry ma'm, you're going to have to deal with it on your own"?

Bazooka Joe71
August 6, 2007, 02:07 AM
It doesn't say in the news article, but I believe someone on here said the bullet went through the ceiling, and dropped and hit the boy?

If this is the case, then why did the grandfather say it entered the front of hit head and exited out of the back?

iiibdsiil
August 6, 2007, 02:45 AM
I have 2 concerns here.

First, they PEOPLE involved need to be charged accordingly.

Second, as trained "professionals", they (he, whatever) should be held to a HIGHER standard, and charged with a higher crime. Everyone makes mistakes, but if police are granted special firearms privileges over the normal citizen, then they should be forced to accept a higher responsibility, including higher jail time for an offense relating to that.

And because of the recent "felony murder" arrests, couldn't the other cop be charged with felony murder? Or are police authorized to discharge a firearm in city limits for a silly reason as such?

My heart goes out to the boys family. I can't have pity for someone that makes a mistake as negligent as the other PEOPLE involved.

Reyn
August 6, 2007, 02:59 AM
couldn't the other cop be charged with felony murder?

No. Surely you are not implying he should.

JR719
August 6, 2007, 03:30 AM
I'm watching this one.... It happened about 2 1/2 hours south of me!

Why were there two Officers there? Was it a 2 man car? Was one a rook being broken in? Who know's what was going on there as details have not been released.

I feel really bad for the family of the child, I also feel bad for the Officer as he has to live with his decision for the rest of his life. Not only that, but the legal reprocussions that will follow.

jeep-2
August 6, 2007, 06:56 AM
3 known facts
cop fired his gun to kill the snake
a five yr old boy is dead
if a non cop had done the same thing, they would be charged with manslaughter and shotgunned with many other lessor offences, firing in town limits, ect.

maybe cops should have more common sence and less training.

WeThePeople
August 6, 2007, 08:17 AM
Interesting. I started a thread a while back about a retired LEO in Louisville, KY shooting - purposefully - a CCDWer and the thread was closed as soon as folks started speculating.

Deanimator
August 6, 2007, 08:27 AM
I suspect they had a 12 ga. in the car......

Maybe, maybe not. I was recently truly surprised to learn that the Chicago PD do not have shotguns in their cars.

carpenter
August 6, 2007, 09:12 AM
someone on here said the bullet went through the ceiling, and dropped and hit the boy?

If this is the case, then why did the grandfather say it entered the front of hit head and exited out of the back?

You're probably referring to me. I was the one who posted the original article that got the thread reopened. The news said the LEOs shot the snake which was in the rafters (of the house). That would mean that the LEOs were in the house. The snake was in the house. The LEOs shot the snake and the bullet would have to travel through a) the snake, b) the roof sheathing and c) the shingles. Assuming the officers fired up into the roof at an angle perpendicular to the earth's surface, then the bullet would ascend until it reached zero velocity.

At that point it would begin its descent back to earth. It accelerates at a rate of 32 feet per second per second until it reached terminal velocity. That's the fastest it's going to travel with the forces of air, humidity, friction, etc, working to slow it down.

Given that scenario, I just found it hard to believe something with as little mass as a handgun bullet would have enough energy to do what the news described.

But it now seems that the snake may have been in a birdhouse outside. If that's the case then the officers didn't fire perpendicular to the earth's surface. They fired at an angle. That would be why the first shot hit the water in the pond.

A bullet fired at such an angle would have plenty of energy to penetrate a child's skull.

carpenter
August 6, 2007, 09:31 AM
Update on the story. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,292168,00.html

The snake was in a tree! Not in the rafters (as per the original story). What on earth are they doing shooting a handgun bullet into a tree?!

JohnBT
August 6, 2007, 09:39 AM
"And 'mistake'. What a quaint way to put it."

Quaint? Huh? Let's look at the definition of the word mistake.

"a wrong action attributable to bad judgment or ignorance or inattention; "he made a bad mistake""

Next week if you have time we can work on the definition of the word bashing.

John

hso
August 6, 2007, 09:42 AM
We'll see if there's anything more to be said once some additional facts come out about this, but predictions on the legal process are a waste of time on this.

XavierBreath
August 12, 2007, 07:58 PM
I received a comment on my blog (http://xavierthoughts.blogspot.com/2007/08/noble-oklahoma-first-shot-was-so-loud.html) from Austin Haley's mother:

My name is Renee Haley....the proud mother of Austin Haley who was shot and killed by a Noble Police Officer. I want to mention two very important things that have been somewhat forgotten in the blogs. First, the THREE police officers who reported to the house of the snake, decided to literally pick up their feet, step over a hoe, rake, and hedge clippers placed directly inside the gate before the police officers arrived to shoot the snake. The second fact is this was not a poisonous snake, but a rat snake that is very similar to a king snake. It was five feet long, but it could not get out of the small opening in the bird house because it had eaten bird eggs or birds. It was stuck and harmless! I do forgive the police officer who shot my precious son, but I do believe there have to be consequences of his behavior. Please keep us in your prayers...God bless all of you.

Renee

XavierBreath
September 8, 2007, 10:05 AM
AP - 9/7/2007 2:45 PM - Updated 9/7/2007 2:48 PM
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- Second-degree manslaughter charges will be filed against two Noble police officers involved in the accidental fatal shooting of a 5-year-old boy, a district attorney said Friday.

Austin Gabriel Haley was killed Aug. 3 after one of the officers fired his .40-caliber handgun at a snake in a birdhouse outside a home in Noble. The boy was standing at a dock at a pond near the house when he was hit.

District Attorney Greg Mashburn identified the officers as Brad Rogers and Shawn Richardson. They would face up to four years in prison if convicted of the felony charge.

Mashburn said he researched the law extensively, visited the shooting scene twice and met with family members of the boy before making his decision.

"I take no pleasure in this decision," he said. "Although this shooting is accidental, with reasonable care and caution, the death of a child could have been avoided."

The boy's parents, who were at the news conference where Mashburn made his announcement, said they supported the prosecutor's decision.

The officer who fired the shot believed the snake to be a rattlesnake, but it turned out to be a harmless black rat snake that is often mistaken for a dangerous snake, Noble City Manager Bob Wade said.

The city of Noble had no animal control officer at the time of the shooting.

Link (http://kotv.com/news/local/story/?id=135517)

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