Outrage grows over police shooting of family dog

Outrage grows over shooting of family dog
Published: Jul. 3, 2012 at 3:56 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 4, 2012 at 10:18 AM CDT
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There's an online petition and growing outrage about a dog shot to death while police were reportedly engaged in a foot pursuit of some suspects.

It happened yesterday at a house on Hodges Street in Lake Charles where the dog named "Monkey" was allegedly shot multiple times.

A heartbreaking photo of Dolores Crochet sitting on the ground, next to the dead  is all over social media and a web site where a petition was started calling for a thorough investigation into whether deadly force was warranted.

Dolores says "Monkey" got out when the gate was left open in the chaos of the foot pursuit of suspects. "He was shooting down like this. Monkey wasn't jumping on him or anything. Four times he shot and the bullet went in. Others said they heard more shots. I didn't because from here she came and met me over there. Well, I was with her. She walked over there and she laid down and that's where she died," said Crochet.

Monkey belonged to her son Chris who says there must have been some alternative to shooting the dog. "She had not ripped his clothes, she had not tried to bite him, and he shot her instead of trying to use pepper spray or some non lethal force," said Chris Crochet.

Deputy Lake Charles Police Chief Mark Kraus and another officer visited the Crochet family at their home.  Kraus says they are investigating what happened. "When the suspect left the gate open the owner's dog came out of that opening, saw the policeman running through his yard and approached the policeman. The policeman at that point, thought the dog was attacking him and he shot the dog," said Kraus.

Kraus says it's too soon to know whether the officer used his gun appropriately.

Copyright 2012 KPLC All rights reserved

Deputy Chief Mark Kraus issued the following news release:

On July 2, 2012, at approximately 4:56 p.m. the Lake Charles Police Department was dispatched to 548 West Prien Lake Road, Cinemark Movie Theater, in reference to a robbery and car jacking. While en route to the scene, Lake Charles Police dispatch advised the suspects were south bound on Ryan Street in the victim's stolen vehicle. Police Officers observed the victim's vehicle south bound on Ryan Street and initiated a traffic stop. The suspects continued south bound on Ryan Street until reaching the intersection of Prien Lake Road and Ryan Street. The suspects then turned into the parking lot of the Capital One Bank on the northeast corner of Ryan Street and Prien Lake Road. The suspects continued through the parking lot before stopping the vehicle on the north side of the property near Fiske Street.  Police Officers observed 3 black males exit the vehicle after it stopped and flee east bound jumping fences through back yards.  Lake Charles Police Officers gave foot pursuit and apprehended one adult male and two juvenile males. 

 Investigation revealed that on July 2, 2012 between the hours of 4:30 P.M. to 4:55 p. m., a white male victim was leaving his vehicle that was parked in the northwest parking lot of Cinemark after putting a package in it, when he was approached by three black males.  These three suspects then cruelly beat the victim until they obtained the keys to his vehicle and fled the scene until encountered by Lake Charles Police Officers. Once the foot pursuit began, officers chased the suspects through back yards. In doing so, it is believed that one of the suspects ran into the back yard of 3204 Hodges Street and fled through a gate which led to the front yard. The suspect left the gate open which allowed the family dog the ability to chase after the suspect. One of the pursuing police officers ran in front of 3204 Hodges Street, the dog diverted his attention from the suspect to the police officers and began running towards him. The police officer now felt he was being attacked by the dog and was forced to discharge his weapon which fatally wounded the dog. All three suspects were arrested in the area by other responding police officers.

An internal investigation is being conducted which is protocol anytime a police officer discharges his weapon.

            After visiting with the family of the deceased dog today our hearts are heavy for them as well as the police officer that was involved. We don't know how this could have been avoided right now, as there are no winners in this case. A man who was bringing his parents to the movies was beaten so badly that he had to go to the hospital. Three suspects, two of whom are juveniles are in jail for a violent crime and their parents are sad. The police officer who was involved in the shooting is being scrutinized for his actions, and equally as important a family lost their beloved dog though no fault of their own.

Suspect: 19 year old black male Donnie Caldwell Leonard - address, Duson, LA 70529

2 black male juveniles  

Charges: Car Jacking, Simple Robbery, Resisting