Police shoot, kill dog while chasing suspect

THORNTON, Colo. — A Thornton police officer shoots and kills a family’s dog he claims threatened him Sunday.

But the dog’s family and neighbors dispute that.

They say the American bulldog-mix never even left their front yard.

Police were in the neighborhood chasing after a man wanted on a misdemeanor drug charge.

The man, Phillip Armstrong-Bowen, was already under arrest when the officer shot the animal.

“He was on my screen saver,” says Vivian Girone, of 8-year-old Scar.

Girone like any proud grandma shows off photos of the dog–in the car, snuggling with dad and out-cold on the couch.

“He was almost human,” says Girone.

But her last memory of him brings her to tears.

“He was bleeding profusely. And he fell in. I dragged him in. I covered his head and I loved on him. He was so hurt,” says Girone.

A Thornton police officer shot scar once in the face.

The department says in a news release: “….a large pit bull started to run toward the officers from a nearby residence. The dog charged one of the officers and began to leap at one of the officers. To protect himself from the attack as the dog’s mouth was open while charging, the officer fired one round and struck the animal.”

“He wasn’t running, he wasn’t growling, he wasn’t barking. He was not lunging,” says a witness who saw the shooting.

But neighbors and family say the dog didn’t threaten anyone–didn’t even leave the front yard.

“He just saw that dog, didn’t even look twice, went boom,” says the witness who didn’t want to be identified.

“I had him since he was a puppy. I raised him. He was the most lovable dog you could ever imagine. He learned to play football. He made touchdowns. He just wouldn’t return the ball back,” says John Lara, the dog’s owner.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do without him. He was just one of us, you know,” says Girone.

But still they wonder why their buddy had to die on his home turf by a man they say is supposed to protect and serve.

“I really want justice just for him. He had no fault in that at all. None,” says Girone.

The family rushed Scar to the veterinarian and paid $1,000 to save his life. But he died anyway.

They say they would have been more understanding of the situation, if the officer had even apologized.