After a resident of Youngstown, AZ, used local media reports to accuse a Maricopa County Sheriff's deputy of endangering her life and unnecessarily killing her dog, the agency issued a statement and released body camera video refuting the claims.
Deputies were called to a home in Youngstown in the West Valley area of Phoenix Saturday night over a domestic incident. The statement from the sheriff's office says it was the third time deputies had been called to the address in 60 days.
The suspect in the domestic had left the residence before deputies arrived, the statement says. In order to aid the search for the suspect, one of the deputies retrieved his K-9 from his patrol vehicle. The handler then walked down a back alley toward the home, as shown in the body camera video.
When the K-9 handler and his dog Tarzan reached the back of the home, they caught the attention of a dog belonging to a resident. The gate to the back yard was open and despite efforts by the pet's owner to stop the dog—described as a pit bull by the local media—from leaving the yard, it charged after the officer and Tarzan, the video shows.
MCSO says the pet dog called Chevy attacked Tarzan and inflicted a number of injuries. The deputy tried to separate the two dogs but after that failed, he shot and killed Chevy. "MCSO K-9 Tarzan sustained injuries to his face and chest to include a broken tooth," the statement reads.
Chevy's owner, Suzette Klein, told ABC15 she and her son had gotten into an argument, and when her son was leaving out the back he left the back fence open.
"My daughter was actually out there as the cop was shooting him. She had his back legs," Klein said. "I think that instead of erring on the side of caution they erred on the side of aggression and it caused a chaotic scene."
The video released by MCSO does not show anyone other than the deputy within arm's reach of Chevy during the shooting.
Deputies detained the male suspect who was accused of getting into a fight; officials told ABC15 News at the scene.
Per agency policy, the shooting is the subject of an internal MCSO investigation.