HAZEL CREST, Ill. (CBS) — The search for a fugitive might have taken a tragic turn; Kenneth Conley escaped from the federal jail in downtown Chicago last week, and one suburban family said the search for Conley claimed the life of their beloved pet.
CBS 2’s Pamela Jones reports this past September was supposed to be the 6-year-old pooch’s birthday, not a prelude to his death Christmas Eve.
Kobi, a 70-pound Rhodesian Ridgeback mix was shot dead, allegedly by a Hazel Crest police officer.
Chanette Weaver said a police officer told her officers were acting in self-defense when they shot Kobi.
She said she’d just put Kobi in her closed, fenced-in yard at about 6:50 a.m. on Christmas Eve. She said, five minutes later, Hazel Crest police showed up at her door.
“One of the officers said, ‘Ma’am, your dog is dead.’ Heartless,” Weaver said.
“He said, ‘Ma’am, your dog was getting ready to attack one of my officers.’ And they shot him three times,” Weaver said.
Hazel Crest police said the dog tried to attack officers on a public sidewalk, and officers felt they were at risk of serious injury.
Weaver said Kobi was in obedience training all the time, and it was very unlikely he would have attacked the officers.
Neighbors said police fired first, and asked questions later about Conley, who officers apparently thought was hiding at a house next door to the Weavers.
“I was like, ‘No we don’t. You all can come into the house and check,’” neighbor Dionne Williams said.
Williams said officers walked down to her basement, saw a teenage girl on the sofa, and simply left.
Conley escaped from the Metropolitan Correctional Center last week, along with his cellmate, Joseph “Jose” Banks. Banks was captured three days later, but Conley remains at large. A search for Conley in Hazel Crest turned up no signs of him.
After Kobi was shot, the Weaver family was left with an open fence that should have been secure, and questions about proper police procedure.
“What’s the protocol? I mean, to shoot a dog three times? What about mace? It just doesn’t make sense,” Weaver said.
The Weavers still had Kobi’s wrapped Christmas gifts of dog treats below their tree.
“It’s just devastating, you know?” Weaver said.
The Weaver family has hired an attorney.