A couple who survived the Las Vegas mass shooting said that a neighbor shot their comfort dog that they used to help them cope.
Lona and Joseph Johnson were there when gunfire broke out at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in October 2017. Shooter Stephen Paddock was accused of opening fire from his hotel room, killing 58 people and wounding hundreds more in the incident.
Couple who survived Las Vegas massacre left devastated after 'neighbor shoots dead emotional support dog' https://t.co/Yk2aXIuuqD
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) September 7, 2018
The Johnsons’ dog Jax was shot over the weekend, and their neighbor allegedly told them that the dog was chasing chickens, the Bellingham Herald in Washington state reported.
“We heard that dogs are good pets to help with the healing and PTSD and anxiety and all the things that came with that horrible night. We decided on a labradoodle and got Jax, and he was such a blessing,” Joseph said.
— KATU News (@KATUNews) September 7, 2018
“He gave us something to look forward to. I really believe Jax was a big part of our healing, not only for my wife and I, but for our children, who were at home and saw the news and the social media and knew we were shot at. He’s helped us all.”
Odin Maxwell, 49, a neighbor of the coupe, was cited for shooting a firearm, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Kevin Hester said.
At around 7:45 a.m. on Sept. 2, sheriff’s deputies, the Everson Police Department, Nooksack Tribal Police, and the Humane Society responded to reports of a dog being shot, the report said.
An investigation found that no chickens were harmed. Hester said that Maxwell was reckless in how he discharged his firearm, a shotgun.
“We’re pretty upset and hurt right now,” Lona told the outlet. “It triggered a lot of PTSD for our family. We’re still trying to deal with what happened in Las Vegas, and then this happened. Everybody who knows us knows how important Jax was to us.”
“We cried pretty much all day Sunday, and the kids had a hard time, wanting to come home,” Lona added. “It was hard being home without having Jax around. It was so quiet.”
The Johnsons told The Associated Press that they had not had any previous dealings with Maxwell. They said a nephew returned one of Maxwell’s chickens unharmed when it came onto their property days before the incident.
Meanwhile, on Sept. 5, police in Las Vegas released a new round of records in relation to the Oct. 1 mass shooting. No motive has yet been established.
In August, Clark County Sheriff’s officials closed their investigation into the shooting.
“The goal of our investigation all along was to provide the public with the clearest picture possible of the events leading up to Oct. 1, as well as motive,” Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo told reporters at news conference, reported NPR. “What we have not been able to definitively answer is the ‘Why Stephen Paddock committed this act?'” he said.
“There’s been no other gunman identified,” he said. Lombardo said that Paddock was an “unremarkable man” who may have had mental health issues.