13 shots to kill a puppy

(Via a private correspondent.)

A couple weeks ago, a government gang in Youngstown, Ohio were chasing some freelance competitors. The suspect young men got out of their car and ran away on foot. One of them ran into Moses and Darcel Gilmore’s house (not, actually, his house, or his family’s; just a nearby house he could get into) and then he ran down into the basement. Three cops charged into the house after him without knocking and without a warrant. When they tried to charge down into basement after him, a 42 pound Akita puppy named Diva, who belonged to the owners of the house, came on up the stairs. (It was trained to expect to be let outside when the basement door opened.) Officer Ryan Laatsch decided to take this as being approached … in an aggressive manner. You might think, especially given that the teenager they were chasing was trapped in a basement and not going anywhere, that three heavily armed, professionally-trained grown-ass men might figure out a way to get around or to calm or to restrain or just to back away from a 42 pound 7 month old puppy so that nobody gets hurt. But, well, Officer Ryan Laatsch was already waving his gun around at the time, so instead he fired off 12 shots into the dog’s body. Then, apparently, he got up close and fired a 13th shot into the dog’s head at point blank range, in order to confirm the kill.

The teenager ran down the basement stairs to hide. When officers opened the basement door from the kitchen, the dog approached Officer [Ryan] Laatsch in an aggressive manner, the police report states.

There were three officers in the house.

Officer Laatsch, who already had service weapon drawn due to the circumstances of the situation, shot approximately five to six times striking the dog … then shot the dog approximately five to six more times …then shot the dog one more time directly in the top of his head from only a few inches away, the report stated.

— Katie Seminara, The Vindicator (2009-04-14): Youngstown police shoot aggressive dog 13 times

Police Chief Jimmy Hughes has defended this on the grounds that Officer Ryan Laatsch fired until the dog ceased to attack (it never started) and in fear for his life and the lives of the other officers (apparently not so afraid that it kept him from getting up close enough to shoot the puppy in the head at point-blank range after he’d already emptied 12 rounds into her body). Police Chief Jimmy Hughes also [doesn’t] know if restitution is in order at this time, because, after all, if the Servants and Protectors were busy saving their own skins from a 7 month old puppy, expecting even an Oops, our bad would really be a bit much.

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· August 2009 ·

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