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image Marvin Brown holds his dog Brutus’ collar after the dog was shot and killed by a Tooele City police officer Wednesday morning.

November 28, 2013
Police shoot dog while searching for suspect

A dog was shot by police officers investigating another call in Tooele Wednesday.

Officers from the Tooele City Police Department were investigating a call about a man carrying a gun near the Pratt Aquatic Center Wednesday morning about 10 a.m.

While on the call, an officer went to look at fields northwest of 270 West for the suspect and saw a large dog approach him, according to Capt. Paul Wimmer of the Tooele City Police Department.

The officer initially disregarded the animal, but when he turned again, he saw the dog running towards him in what he perceived to be a threatening manner, Wimmer added.

Wimmer said the officer fired his gun at the dog. The animal was transported to a veterinarian by Tooele City Animal Control, where it was euthanized due to its injuries.

The dog’s owners, Marvin Brown and Denise Gordon, both of Tooele, said while they can understand how someone could be intimidated by their dog, a Mastiff mix named Brutus, their dog was friendly and they believe the officer’s show of force was excessive.

“I think they just got scared and they shot him,” Gordon said. “But I think once is enough.”

Gordon and Brown said they found seven bullet wounds in their dog’s body.

“There’s something definitely not jiving with the story all the way around,” said Brown, noting from the location of the wounds he believes the dog was hit from behind. “It’s excessive. There’s a difference. There’s got to be some sort of a line.”

The dog was shot within sight of its home on 270 West, but was running off-leash in the area.

“Their right for doing that is because he’s a dog at large, so that’s why they had a right to shoot him seven times,” Gordon said. “He’s not a vicious dog. That’s a little excessive.”

Gordon and Brown also said they were upset that police waited several minutes before taking the dog to the vet.

Wimmer said the suspect originally called in as possibly carrying a gun in the area was found—a teenage boy who also lived on 270 West. He was carrying a stick.

“It did have a shape that from a distance could conceivably see it was a gun,” said Wimmer. “It’s not surprising we got a call on it, and we’re glad the reporting party called on it, but it was a 13-year-old with a stick.”

As of press time Wednesday, the exact number of shots fired from the officer’s gun was still under investigation by the police department, Wimmer said. Departmental policy instructs officers to use as many rounds as they feel is necessary for the threat in cases such as this, he said.

“Officers are trained to fire until the threat is gone,” he said.

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