Angie Harmon sues Instacart over fatal dog shooting, PTSD; app is 'beyond responsible,' she says


Angie Harmon and her daughters are still processing grief from the death of their dog, with the actor filing a lawsuit against Instacart and the delivery person who she says shot her pet Oliver at her North Carolina home in late March.

The “Law & Order” and “Rizzoli & Isles” alum, who filed a civil lawsuit over the March 30 incident in Mecklenburg County, N.C., believes the app is “beyond responsible for all this.”

“It’s so unfathomable to think that there is somebody in your front driveway that just fired a gun,” Harmon said Wednesday on “Good Morning America.” “And you don’t ever forget that sound.”

“I’ve played law enforcement for 30 years. It’s just so different,” she added. “People need to know that, you know, who they’re talking to on Instacart is not necessarily who’s going to show up at your house.”

Harmon is suing Reid and Instacart’s parent company, Maplebear Inc., for alleged trespassing, negligence, negligent supervision/hiring, invasion of privacy, negligent misrepresentation and the taking of property. She is seeking more than $25,000 in damages.

In her lawsuit, the actor accused the delivery person — identified as Christopher Anthoney Reid in legal papers but as an elderly woman named Merle in the Instacart app — of getting out of his car at her house in Charlotte, N.C., delivering her groceries and then shooting the dog. Harmon said she “had no idea that she had been communicating with Defendant Reid” ahead of the delivery and shooting, believing him to be the shopper named Merle,” according to the complaint, obtained Wednesday by The Times.

Harmon’s lawsuit alleges that Reid, whose father’s name is Merle, was impersonating Merle on the Instacart app and described him as a “tall and intimidating younger man.” She said that Reid was not injured or seriously threatened by the German Shepherd-Beagle mix and that he had “ample opportunity” to leave the property unharmed without allegedly shooting the dog. She further alleges that she did not consent to Reid accessing the property, delivering groceries or accessing her personal information in any way.

Chronicling the incident in her lawsuit, much like she did on social media after the shooting occurred, Harmon alleges she heard what sounded like a gunshot after Reid arrived. While she was upstairs feeding her squirrels, her children were in the backyard, the suit said.

“Terrified for her children’s safety, Ms. Harmon immediately ran downstairs to determine [the] source of what she thought was a gun shot,” the complaint said. “As Ms. Harmon walked outside, she saw [her children] in distress. Ms. Harmon immediately noticed that Defendant Reid was placing a gun in the front of his pants, potentially in his pant pocket. Looking to the side, she saw that her beloved dog, Oliver, was shot.”

The lawsuit accuses Reid of violating local laws by discharging his gun inside city limits and argues that he had “no legal right” to access Harmon’s property.

Reid told Charlotte-Mecklenburg police that he acted in self-defense after Oliver allegedly attacked him, resulting in him firing a single gunshot that struck the canine, who later died. In a 911 call reviewed by ABC News, Reid told the operator that the dog was trying to bite him. The police department spokesperson told The Times that no criminal charges were filed in relation to the incident and that police were not seeking additional parties.

“We’re all in therapy for PTSD. There is no reason for anybody to go through this, none,” the actor told People this week. Harmon said her daughters couldn’t get out of bed for a week after the shooting.

“Everything just stopped. It’s like even your brain stops,” she said. “And I’ve just done a crazy cleaning of my entire home, scrubbing the floors. I installed a new alarm system. My therapist said, ‘When you go through trauma at your home, you get rid of all the things that are unnecessary,’ and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing because I’m trying to make my home feel safe again because it doesn’t right now.”

Harmon told People that she feels neglected, unsafe and “like people and their pets don’t mean anything.”

“I’m still bawling and crying. I can feel myself shaking. It’s difficult — unfathomable — but we can’t just sit back and do nothing. We can’t just sit by and take our rebate from Instacart and say, ‘OK, thank you.’ This is like a public service announcement,” she said. “I mean, people need to know that this is what could happen.”

Instacart said it “immediately suspended” the shopper account associated with the incident from the platform, but Harmon alleges that Reid delivered food to one of her neighbors hours later, despite the suspension.

“Our hearts continue to be with Ms. Harmon and her family following this disturbing incident,” an Instacart spokesperson said Wednesday in a statement to The Times. “While we cannot comment on pending litigation, we have no tolerance for violence of any kind, and the shopper account has been permanently deactivated from our platform.”

The San Francisco-based company uses third-party background checks and takes steps to verify shoppers’ identities, including having them provide valid driver‘s licenses before gaining access to the platform. Instacart also said its policy explicitly prohibits any violence or aggression, including carrying a weapon, and also prohibits any form of fraud, such as account sharing (including passwords) and delegating shopping/delivering responsibilities to someone who does not have an active and valid shopper account.

“We take any report of violence very seriously, and will immediately suspend any account that is reported for violence,” Instacart said.

The actor said that a necropsy performed on Oliver showed no signs of him having bitten or violently attacked anyone.

Harmon said that her 43-pound pet was shot in his right shoulder and that the impact broke all five of his ribs. The bullet went through his lung, bounced off his stomach and exited under his left front leg. The family transported him to an emergency vet, where he later died.





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