Las Vegas Massacre Survivors Adopted a Support Dog, But Their Neighbor Shot and Killed Him

Less than a year ago, 58 people were killed and 851 others were injured when a gunman opened fire on a crowd attending a country music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada. Among those in attendance were Lona and Joseph Johnson, as well as Lona’s cousin, Melinda Brockie. The Johnsons were unharmed, however Brockie was shot in the cheek.

Even without physical injury, experiencing such an event understandably left the Johnsons with lingering post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

The Johnsons and their children have since struggled to grapple with horrors of experiencing the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. However, after some advice, the family chose to adopt a labradoodle named Jax to bring the type of selfless warmth and support only a pet can offer to a traumatized household. Jax has “helped us all,” says Joseph.

But in early September, the family had to relive some of the horrors of that night in Las Vegas when they heard a gun being fired outside their home in Bellingham, Washington. When they went outside to investigate, they discovered their beloved dog, Jax, shot dead by their neighbor.

According to neighbor Odin Maxwell, Jax had been chasing his chickens, and he was merely defending them. However, when law enforcement officers arrived on the scene, they say it was clear that Jax was killed on the Johnsons’ own property. Maxwell also declined to help corroborate his allegations; police say there was no proof his chickens were harmed in any way.

To make matters worse, the Johnsons’ 9-year-old nephew had been playing in their yard at the time that Maxwell chose to play target practice.

For some, this story might come across as a tragic irony — surviving a mass shooting, getting a support animal and then having it fatally shot. But it is not ironic. It is merely a microcosm of the inescapable gun violence that characterizes life in the United States.

Whether you’ve experienced a mass shooting, witnessed deadly domestic abuse or known someone whose mental illness pushed them to take their own lives, few Americans in these times are untouched by gun violence. And sadly for the Johnsons, this is especially true.

Americans have tacitly accepted this reality as tragic, yet somehow acceptable — even though this happens in no other developed nation in the world.

To truly underscore this fact, the Johnsons’ neighbor, Maxwell, was merely given a citation for murdering a cherished, non-threatening family pet and endangering a 9-year-old’s life. After all, such happenings are dime-a-dozen in the United States.

Just because these types of incidents are now normal does not mean they are unavoidable. While Republicans will deflect the gun violence issue to be attributed to anything but gun laws themselves — be it video games, mental illness or “radicalization,” depending on the shooter’s ethnicity — anyone with a rational head on their shoulders should be able to recognize the obvious: Lax gun regulation necessarily results in gun violence.

Photo Credit: Jessica D. Vega/Unsplash


Amanda M
Amanda M2 months ago

I don't care if I'd have gotten arrested for it-if this scumbag were my neighbor, I'd have beaten the living snot out of him! This cretin deserves to be Gibbs slapped with his own gun!

Karen M
Karen McDonald2 months ago

I feel blessed to live in a country that doesn't determine the safety of its people using the excuse of a 200+ year old amendment. Fortunately we look to the future & I'm lucky that it's exceptionally unlikely my dog would be shot by a neighbour, my child would be gunned down at school or I'd be assassinated at a concert. Definitely the Lucky Country.

Mark Donner
Mark Donner2 months ago

I probably would end up in prison the way I would have retaliated against that "neighbor"

S M2 months ago

Why do Americans always have to be shooting something or someone?

Teresa A
Teresa Antela2 months ago

Sometimes I can't believe what I'm reading… Is everybody mad? Poor dog and poor family!

Kerrie G
Kerrie G2 months ago

I feel so sorry for the dog and his family. Such a dangerous place to live, this world is getting worse all the time.

Jacqueline GLYDE
Jacqueline GLYDE2 months ago

What the hell was wrong with knocking on his neighbor's door & talking it through.
Bloody gun happy parasite.
I have to agree with Rita too,he's lucky he's not my neighbor.

danii p
danii p2 months ago

thank you

danii p
danii p2 months ago

thank you

Emily J
Emily J2 months ago

It's a pity it's illegal to shoot the neighbour.