Police officer fired after shooting at squirrel in store

Oct. 25, 2013 at 4:29 PM
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MOUNTAIN CITY, Tenn., Oct. 25 (UPI) -- Officials in a Tennessee city said a police officer was fired for shooting his gun and using pepper spray in an attempt to get a squirrel out of a dollar store.

Mountain City Police Officer Jody Putnam went to a Dollar General in Johnson County on a report of a squirrel running loose in the store and police department records state the officer fired off his gun in an apparent attempt to kill or scare the animal, WJHL-TV, Johnson City, Tenn., reported Friday.

"Shooting back there, of course that should not have been, that should not have happened," property owner Carl Duffield said.

Duffield said Putnam's gunfire did not get rid of the squirrel, so the officer then used pepper spray while customers were still inside the store.

"There was a lot of people that come out and just like me they came out and they were coughing and a hacking it was comical," Duffield said, "but I'm sure they didn't feel that way, the customers that came out."

Police records said Putnam refused to fill out a report, which is required when an officer fires a service weapon.

"Through a violation of the police department policy Officer Jody Putnam's employment, as a Mountain City Police Officer, was terminated by the Board of Mayor and Alderman," Mountain City Mayor Lawrence Keeble said.

Putnam had been with the police department for five years and had previously served with the Johnson County Sheriff's Department for 14 years.

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