New information on Sulphur officer involved in fatal dog shootin - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

New information on Sulphur officer involved in fatal dog shooting

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(Monica Grimaldo / KPLC) (Monica Grimaldo / KPLC)
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SULPHUR, LA (KPLC) -

Sulphur residents are still in shock after a Sulphur police officer shot a dog Monday morning, claiming self-defense.

"When I first heard about the incident, it made me cry," said Sulphur resident Wendy Perez, who owns two dogs herself.

The killing has sparked an internal investigation, and in documents obtained by KPLC, officer Brian Thierbach has been at the center of investigations before.

According to his Department of Public Safety service record, Thierbach served nearly 10 years with the Louisiana State Police. The documents state Thierbach was involved in a shooting in a Lake Charles K-Mart parking lot in 2010. While the state shooting review board found Thierbach was justified in his actions leading up to the shooting, the report states he "accidentally discharged his firearm."

Thierbach was later "reprimanded," because "the altercation was not at the level to justify deadly force."

In April 2013, Thierbach was placed on administrative leave by state police, pending an investigation, saying he "posed a significant hazard to the efficiency of the public service," and that his conduct was "unbecoming of an officer."

It's not clear from the documents on what exactly led to the action, but three days after the notice was written, Thierbach resigned from the Louisiana State Police.

The Sulphur incident has since generated national attention. One resident who did not want to go on camera claims to be close to another Sulphur officer and said the public is being too harsh with the department as a whole when it was only one officer involved. Other residents said officers should be more compassionate toward dogs while on duty and are now keeping an extra eye on their own pets.

While KPLC found documents related to a troubled past as a state trooper, we also discovered commendations on Thierbach's part. In 2012, Thierbach was recognized by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Lafayette for helping to get violent offenders off the street and for his support of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program.

KPLC also asked state police about any other commendations or awards for service, but we have not received word yet.

Thierbach is on administrative, leave pending the outcome of the current investigation.

Sulphur Police spokesman Mel Estess isn't commenting on what happened but did tell us an internal investigation is under way. The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office is assisting in the investigation.

Thierbach's state police files can be seen at http://www.scribd.com/doc/221656562/Brian-Thierbach-Records.

The story went national Tuesday night when The Huffington Post published a story detailing the incident through the eyes of two witnesses.

A Facebook page named for "Justice for Arzy" had over 5,000 likes on Friday. The change.org petition associated with the page is asking Sulphur Police Chief Lewis Coats to dismiss Thierbach. The petition had over 5,300 signatures by 6 p.m. on Friday.

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