COLUMBUS — City Council approved a $780,000 settlement for a Whitehall girl who was shot by a Columbus police officer. Six year old Ava Ellis was shot in her femur in the summer of 2015 at her home on Chandler Drive.
"It hit her pretty much square in the middle of her leg and went through and broke the bone. She had to have a plate and screws to help pin the bone in place," said Brad Ellis,26, Ava's dad.
Police officer Jonathon Thomas was responding to an incident unrelated to the Ellis family. Witnesses said somebody called out for Thomas to help Mrs. Ellis, who had cut herself. When Officer Thomas went to the door, he said the Ellis' dog charged at him, so he fired at the dog and missed, striking the little girl who was in the living room with her siblings.
"Emotionally, mentally she has nightmares you could see it effects her now and again. I pray with her being young it will fade out," said Brad Ellis.
The family said they accepted the settlement because they are trying to put the incident behind them. "I think it is hard to place a value on something traumatic like that, I am grateful she is here, but at the same time you don't know what it going to happen long term."
Ava Ellis said she still has nightmares, but tells her parents when she is scared. Ellis has not been able to attend her first grade class much so far this year as she had another surgery to removed a plate and screws in her leg.
The Ellis' said they think the officer should lose his job. Thomas is still on the police force, and is disputing the disciplinary action being taken against him, saying he shot at the dog in self-defense.
Andrea Ellis said she just wants her family to get back to normal and her five children to be happy. "I have always been a mother that worries about something crazy happening and then something like I would have never dreamed of to happen to my child has just made me more afraid."
Ava, now 6, wearing a purple shirt, said purple is her favorite color, and that she has been drinking lots of chocolate milk to make her bones strong. Her mom said Ava is in therapy and may have plastic surgery on the scars on her leg.
"We have been dealing with sleepless nights and nightmares, a lot of crying
it was a lot it was very hard, it would cause us to cry because we felt so bad for her. We just wanted to take it all away