Dog Shot, Killed After Charging Officer, Police Say

By Allan Lengel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A homeless Texan named Joe often preached about the Lord and hung out in Dupont Circle with his white dog, Precious. People say she was harmless. The same for Joe.

But a U.S. Park Police officer shot and killed Precious yesterday after the unleashed, 6-year-old pit bull charged him shortly before 6 p.m. about 35 feet from the circle's fountain, police said. Witnesses said the park was filled with people.

"When I . . . saw it, I was shocked," said Carolyn Stromberg, 27, who was sitting by the fountain with her brother. "I started crying. We hadn't heard any dogs attacking."

She said the dog's owner ran toward the animal, asking: "Why did you shoot my dog? He was just chasing squirrels."

Stromberg said she didn't witness the events leading up to the shooting but insisted that when she saw the officer aim his gun, the dog was not moving.

Park Police Lt. Art Jacobsen said an officer patrolling the area had told the owner to put the dog on a leash, as is required by law. The dog then "aggressively ran toward the officer," who fired a shot, Jacobsen said.

Later, the dog's owner, who declined to give his last name, lay in front of the dog's body, which was covered with a blue blanket, until the Humane Society took the dog away.

"She's gone now, she's dead, she's dead,'' Joe said, sobbing. He refrained from blaming police, saying, "It's got to be a misunderstanding."

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