A North Carolina woman was hit by a ricocheting bullet meant for her dog, after Winston-Salem police chief in-waiting Barry Rountree got scared of the dog last week and tried to shoot it.
The woman, Tamara Whitt, was shot by Rountree as he was responding to a 911 call alleging a man with a gun was roaming the neighborhood, aiming the weapon at people.
Evidently there was such a man: Rountree. Police said after he and other officers arrived in the area to investigate, Whitt’s dog approached them in a “threatening manner.” Rountree got scared of the dog and tried to shoot it, but the .40 caliber bullet bounced off the pavement and hit Whitt in the leg.
According to Whitt – who described her pet’s behavior throughout the ordeal as “very passive” – Rountree’s reaction to her injury was to walk across the street and have a cell phone conversation, then cross back over to ask her if she was alright.
“He did not come to me. He backed away,” she said. “He walked across the street over there by that car over there and he was on his phone … and I told the SBI [State Bureau of Investigation] he did not come to me.”
Whitt hasn’t had the bullet removed; doctors have told her the procedure would be too dangerous.
At the time of the shooting, Rountree was in line to be sworn in as the new Winston-Salem chief of police. He was placed on administrative leave after the shooting, but has since been cleared of any wrongdoing by Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neill. Rountree was sworn in as chief of police on June 30.
The dog, a boxer named Lebrone, is still alive, but remains in the custody of Forsyth County Animal Control.