o let Sammy be released there will be additional cost that will need to be paid. Gina is a small business owner and because of the tragic loss of her daughter Autumn and the circustances surrounding this case she has been without financial means. Any contribution to this fund is appreciated. Thank You. You can read more about her horrible situation here:
On January 6, 2015 Autumn Steele of Burlington, Iowa was tragically shot and killed by Burlington Police Officer Jesse Hill in front of her husband, young son, and neighbors. From initial accounts the family dog apparently startled Officer Hill, who fired his weapon twice, grazing the dog and hitting Autumn in the chest, resulting in her death. The investigation of this incident is complete and is currently sitting on the desk of Des Moines County Attorney Amy Beavers. Ms. Beavers is expected to make a final determination on the investigation's findings within three weeks.
The Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation and Des Moines County Attorney Amy Beavers have stated Officer Jessie Hill’s body and police cruiser camera were on and functioning at the time of the shooting. To date, the video footage has not been release. As well, there are conflicting eye witness accounts and newspaper articles with regard to the moments leading up to the shooting. There is no explanation as to why Hill felt the need to use a firearm as the first means of controlling Sammy. It is by providence alone that the two bullets Hill fired struck Autumn and Sammy and not the child, husband or anyone else in the vicinity.
On January 15, 2015 a complaint was filed with the Burlington Police Department alleging that the family dog, Sammy, is a concern to the safety of Burlington residents. This complaint centers on the perceived dog's actions during the time of the fatal shooting. An investigation of the complaint was conducted and referred to the Burlington, Iowa Animal Hearing Board for final adjudication. This public hearing is scheduled for 25 February 2015 at 6:30 PM at (Letters of support can also be sent to this address.):
Burlington Iowa City Hall
400 Washington St
Burlington, IA 52601
The Hearing Board will decide on two matters: 1. Was Sammy provoked by the situation to defend his owners? 2. Determine if Sammy is a safety concern and should, therefore, be euthanized.
If the board determines that Sammy is of a safety concern, and determines that Sammy should be euthanized, there is an alternative that needs to be considered.
Ms. Gina Waters-Colbert of Columbus, Georgia, and Autumn's mother, has agreed to accept ownership of Sammy. Ms. Waters-Colbert has five acres of open and penned property in Columbus, a number of animals, and a very animal friendly environment. She is a businesswoman who has received recognition and awards for her community service and business acumen. Placing Sammy in Gina's ownership will commence the healing process for a family devastated by their loss and for a community ready to move forward. This alternative is a win-win solution for all parties concerned.
Signatures collected on this petition will be sent to the Animal Hearing Board for their consideration in the event they determine Sammy should be euthanized.
Additional details about the shooting to include video of local news eyewitness report can be found at the following websites below. Within these reports are links to other videos and news articles.
- Julie Robinson
- Gail Sullivan
- Coral McGue
- Abby Menuet
- Sandy Trueba-Reguera
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