Crime

Cops Shot Dog After Wanted Teen Ordered It to Attack, Denver Police Say

"Many tears were shed tonight...."

Those are the first words in an account from photographer Riley Ralmuto about an incident that took place near 9th and Sheridan last night: Denver police officers shot the dog of a wanted teen after cops say he ordered it to attack. Continue for the rest of Ralmuto's piece, plus additional images, a video and more below.

See also: Two dogs killed by cops in Commerce City, site of two earlier officer-shoots-dog incidents

The area near the scene of the gunplay is captured in the following interactive graphic. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."


View Larger Map

The Denver Police Department's version of what went down is encompassed in a two-part tweet. Note that the intersection is referred to as 8th and Sheridan, but media coverage shows that the house is actually located on the 900 block.

Here's part one....

...followed by part two:

As for Ralmuto, who captured a shot of officers carrying away the injured dog that's included in 7News coverage below, he wrote about what he saw on his Websta page. In his words:
Many tears were shed tonight by residents of my neighborhood.

After hearing 5 consecutive gunshots very close to my house, I ran out to my garage to see of I could hear anything that might give me a clue as to what was going on. I began to notice that people were lining the streets, all trying to do the same thing as me -- find out what the heck just happened and who got shot.

Several Denver Police officers reportedly surrounded a house in search of a wanted juvenile male (16). After some argument and aggravation, the boy [allegedly] commanded his Boxer/Rottweiler mix to attack a police officer. The dog [allegedly] obeyed command and was consequently shot 5 times by the cop who was [allegedly] under attack. According to Denver PD, the 16 year old male fled and is still missing. Also according to DPD, the dog (who's name was Rough-houser, I believe) is still alive, but severely injured and "being treated." As I walked around taking photos and talking to onlookers, it became very apparent that this dog was well known and a "family pet...."
Obviously, police shootings of dogs are controversial, as anyone who's read our coverage about multiple incidents in Commerce City over recent years understands. However, a DPD spokesperson tells 7News that officers in the department are allowed to discharge their weapons at dogs if they feel their lives are in danger

At this writing, the teen suspect, who is reportedly wanted for assault and escape, remains at large. In the meantime, there's been no update about the dog's condition beyond the previous mention that he was alive and receiving treatment after the shooting.

Here's the 7News report.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts