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CMPD investigates dog shooting by detectives

By Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
cwootson@charlotteobserver.com

Gaston County police say one of their detectives shot a pit bull Wednesday in northeast Mecklenburg County when the officer was unable to get away from the dog.

But Holly Baucom, the pit bull’s owner, said her family’s 11-year-old dog, Katrina, was never a threat to officers or anyone else.

Both the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police and Gaston County police say they are investigating the incident, which took place when Gaston County detectives visited a residence to speak with a person about an ongoing investigation.

“She was like a senior citizen dog,” Baucom said. “She was a good girl. She didn’t bark. She didn’t bite. This family’s dog has been shot and killed senselessly. She didn’t do anything wrong, except she was born a pit tbull.”

Katrina and the family’s other dog, a Labrador retriever, had been let out to relieve themselves just before investigators arrived at the home on Rocky River Church Road, near where Albemarle Road meets Interstate 485 in unincorporated Mecklenburg County, Baucom said.

The shooting happened at 11:12 a.m., according to CMPD. The detectives from Gaston were in Mecklenburg to speak with “a subject regarding an ongoing investigation,” CMPD said in a statement. The department wouldn’t disclose the nature of the investigation.

Baucom said she wasn’t home when investigators arrived looking for her daughter, who they said might have been a witness in a case they were investigating. Katrina, who doesn’t typically bark or growl, even at strangers, likely came out to greet them.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say the pit bull was unsecured in the backyard and “approached the detectives in a manner deemed by the detectives to be aggressive. One detective fired his gun, striking the pit bull, who later died of the injury.

In a statement issued Thursday, Gaston County police said nobody at the house warned their detectives that an unsecured pit bull was in the back yard. They said a detective “tried to retreat by backing away from the animal, but could not.” Gaston police said the detective fired a shot, striking the dog “when it was only several feet from him.”

Gaston County police are conducting an internal investigation into the shooting. CMPD is investigating to see whether a crime was committed.

No CMPD officers were present during the shooting. Crime Scene technicians responded to the scene to collect evidence.

Police encourage anyone with information about the case to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

Staff writer Steve Lyttle contributed.

Wootson: 704-358-5046; Twitter: @CleveWootson
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