EL MONTE - A family expressed outrage Friday after an El Monte police officer shot their pet 2-year-old German Shepherd inside their fenced-in front yard while following up on a report of a runaway teenager. The family was forced to put the dog down following the shooting.
"I'm hurt that they would do this to my pet, but at the same time I'm angry because they act like they don't even care. They didn't apologize," Luu said through a Vietnamese translator.
In an encounter recorded by a home security camera shortly after 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, two police officers arrived at the home of Cathy Luu, her husband Chi Nguyen and their children in the 4700 block of Maxson Road.
The officers had an appointment to meet with Luu and Nguyen
Kiki, a 2-year-old German shepherd, lies wounded after being shot by an El Monte police officer following up on a report of a runaway teen in the 4700 block of Maxson Road in El Monte on Wednesday, June 19, 2013. The dog ultimately had to be euthanized (Courtesy)
about 3:30 p.m. to discuss their teenage son, who had apparently run away from home over the weekend, and pick up a photograph, according to El Monte police officials and the dog owners. But the investigators were delayed and ended up arriving about 4:30 p.m.
Police and the family gave conflicting reports of the events leading up to the shooting.
Police said the officers shook the gate and otherwise took care to check if there were dogs present in the yard before opening the gate and entering. But a video captured by the family's home security camera appears to support Luu's claim that the officers simply parked their patrol car and entered the yard without checking for dogs, despite two posted "beware of dog" signs, including one mounted to the gate itself.
After being shot, the wounded dog ran to the backyard of the home. It was later euthanized at a veterinary hospital.
The loss of the female German Shepherd, named Kiki, devastated the family, Luu said, especially the couple's 11-year-old son.
"She was his baby," the mother son. "He cried all night. He still cries."
In addition to the death of the dog, family members said they were concerned about the safety of an officer firing a gun in a neighborhood crowded with children.
There were four children present at the home when the shooting occurred, and a children's pool party was taking place in a front yard across the street, according to the family and the video.