With 26 Shots, Police Kill Dog, Wound Selves
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What seemed like a routine patrol call in the Bronx resulted in three police officers being shot in the legs — by police bullets — and a family’s pit bull being shot dead.
One or more officers fired 26 shots during the incident, police sources said.
“It was like the Fourth of July,” a man who identified himself as a tenant of the building said, describing the speed and number of shots fired. “They shot at an innocent dog. The dog was just doing its job.”
“The shooting was justified,” the police department’s chief spokesman, Paul Browne, said. “As with any police shooting, the tactics employed, including the number of shots fired, will be examined by the Firearms Review Board.”
The three officers, as well as a fourth who was bitten in the leg by the dog, were listed in stable condition at Lincoln Hospital yesterday, police said.
Police yesterday were investigating how many officers fired their weapons. The steps and halls of the apartment building, located at 480 Concord Ave., were dotted with blood spots.
Police said the officers were responding to a landlord-tenant dispute at 12:10 a.m. yesterday, but witnesses said they saw the officers chasing a teenager who had been smoking marijuana into a fourth-floor apartment. They kicked down the door and the pit bull came after the officers, biting one of them in the leg and initiating a barrage of gunfire, witnesses said. There were not arrests made.
“They shot my dog,” a 12-year-old who lives in the fourth-floor apartment said as he was repairing the broken door. “He never hurt nobody in his life.”
The boy said the dog, named Red, was 14 years old. The police also took his new puppy, the boy said. A spokesman for the city’s Center for Animal Care and Control, Richard Gentles, said no other dogs were brought in to the center.
Mr. Gentles said police brought the dead dog to the center yesterday morning, and that its head was sent to a lab for rabies testing.
“Every part of the dog had bullet wounds,” he said.
Mr. Browne said the officers might reenact the shooting at the department’s firing range on City Island in the Bronx.
Some residents of the building were skeptical of the legitimacy of the police shooting. A girl standing outside, clutching a photo of a dog, said she would not speak to the press because she didn’t think people would understand what she was going through. A woman who would only identify herself as the aunt of the boy who was fixing the door called the police officers’ actions “disgusting.”