Cop shoots, kills dog during Adams Morgan festival

adams morgan dog shooting
A D.C. police officer holds down the dog, Parrot, moments before the shooting. (Photo courtesy: Anibel Apunte)

UPDATE 7:47 p.m. Sept. 13: The Washington Post has obtained the police report on the incident. It describes the dog as appearing "to be out of control" and says the dog "charged" at the officer before it was fatally shot.

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10:16 p.m. Updated with a statement from Third District police that conflicts with the dog handler's spokesman's statement, and an e-mailed statement from the handler himself.

There's never a shortage of police officers at Adams Morgan Day, just in case someone gets out of hand. Today, that someone was a dog.

An officer with the D.C. police department shot and killed a dog — possibly a rottweiler or pit bull — outside The Brass Knob antique store at 2311 18th St. NW. The shooting followed an intense, two-minute scuffle between the dog and what witnesses describe as a "smaller" white dog. 

In dispute of the what the dog's handler has said, police tonight released a statement saying the dog was out of control and also bit the handler. Here's the entire e-mail from Third District Capt. Aubrey P. Mongal:

Earlier this afternoon, during the Adams Morgan Day events, an MPD officer encountered a dog in the crowded pedestrian area that got out of the control of it’s handler. The dog attacked another dog and also bit it handler. The officer, after making several attempts to subdue the dog by training tactics, had to finally shoot one time to stop the dog.

On the contrary, says the handler, who only wants to be identified as Aaron. In an e-mail to TBD, Aaron said the apparent foster dog, Parrot, didn't bite anyone.

In my recollection and as the eyewitness accounts will coroborate, the dog was completely under my control when the k9 officer removed me. Parrot bit no human, the only blood he drew was when i thrust my hand into his mouth to get him off the other dog. The k9 officer's injury, which he showed me at the station after, was nothing more than a rope burn from Parrot's leash, suffered when the officer was throwing my dog down a flight of stairs.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier, in an earlier response to an e-mail from advisory neighborhood commissioner and candidate for the Ward 1 D.C. Council seat Bryan Weaver, said three people, including a K9 officer, were bitten by the dog. Here's an excerpt of the e-mail:

I don't know all of the facts at this point so it is very difficult for me to comment beyond the facts that I have been given. All I know is that there is one dog who was attacked by the pit bull and 3 people, including a K9 officer, that were bitten by the pit bull.

Police sources had earlier told ABC 7 the officer who shot the dog was a canine handler who was experienced with dogs. He was trying to separate the dogs, and attempted to choke hold the larger dog. While he was trying that, the dog attempted to bite him or did bite him, and he threw him down the stairwell in an attempt to injure the dog. The dog charged the officer and the officer opened fire, the sources said.

An unidentified spokesperson for the dog's handler said the cop didn't try hard enough to subdue the dog.

In an e-mail to TBD, Weaver said the dog had seemed friendly at his booth at the festival just 15 minutes before the incident:

"Aaron is a good guy, he said he had the dog under control and the cop grabbed it from him and threw him down the well at [Marie] Reed and shot him. Dog was playing with kids at my booth 15 min earlier. Aaron is really shaken."

One witness, 46-year-old Harriet Winslow, said that at first, she saw the two dogs — the white-sandy pitbull-looking dog and a cute white fluffy lap dog — barking and fighting.

"Everybody glanced over and the owners of these dogs were frantically trying to pull them apart. We're all looking concerned. Suddenly, the owner of the pitbull was down on the ground trying to subdue his dog. He was really trying hard — I have to give him credit. He was on the ground wrapping his arms around the dog. I could see him down on the ground. I mean he was really trying."

After the two dogs were pulled apart, Winslow says she could see that the smaller dog was fine. But the dogs were still barking at each other.

Then a cop appeared.

"I glanced over again and I saw a very able bodied police officer fully a stride the dog — the cop straddling dog. The pitbull was still animated, still trying to get up. But this cop — I thought 'Wow this guy is good at this, he subdued a really angry dog.' Then I thought 'Good, this is now over.' Then I walk just five or 10 feet away and I hear a gun shot."

Before she heard the shot, she said she thought "the cop was totally in control. ... It's not something I would want to do. He really was on top of this dog."

Noah Siegel, who works at nearby Spaghetti Garden restaurant, says he saw "two or three cops" surrounding the dog. One of the officers, says Siegel, had the dog on a leash and attempted to drag it away from the commotion.

The dog began "trying to attack the cop," says Siegel. "Next thing I knew, they had it down there in the corner and I heard a shot and that was it," says Siegel, who was interviewed by ABC 7's Brianne Carter.

An onlooker who attempted to intervene in the dogfight sustained a scrape or two. "He's fine," reports ABC 7's Carter.


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