Off-duty officer fires gun during Elysian Valley dog attack

An off-duty LAPD officer walking his dog in Elysian Valley last night opened fire on another dog that threatened to attack him. The officer was confronted by a “vicious dog” around midnight near Dorris Place and Blake Avenue, according to the Northeast Division Twitter feed. The officer fired one round, missing the dog, said Lt. Stacy Spell with the Northeast Division. The officer was not bitten or injured.

An investigation is underway as is department policy, he said.


  1. Wish I could walk around packin

    • So my tax dollars are paying for an officer that can’t aim to shoot a dog. What kind of dog was it? A chihuahua??!!

    • You can apply for a CCW permit here in California. Don’t get Your hopes up though You will need a letter of recommended permission from the local police department.
      This seems to have happened within 200 feet of residences, so there should be some kind of review, as that could be a chargeable offense. I’m assuming the guy will be treated as a civilian since he was off duty.

      • He is a LA police officer. He is held to a higher than civilian standard in the use of a firearm. If the review board concludes that he was in danger he may get a pass. Depending on his past record he could get a letter of reprimand, loss of pay, demoted, or terminated. Discharge of a firearm is considered very serious. Even if it was justified he will be put through the wringer.

  2. I first read this as Elysian Park. Regardless, although we can’t surmise the entire circumstances from this report beyond it was pretty late at night, a guy is walking his dog and encounters a vicious dog on the loose and walker happens to have his own gun.

    Still, it seems excessive to me.

    I’m glad he missed the dog and he stopped possible personal injury to himself and/or his own dog by firing his weapon…?

    My questions are: was it OK to shoot a weapon in a neighborhood? And is there any follow-up being done to identify and locate the unfortunate circumstances of the dog he encountered?

    • Well hopefully he fired a warning shot into the ground instead of actually aiming for the dog and risking the bullet entering someone’s home.
      It is not OK to fire a gun in a neighborhood. I could be wrong about local laws, but I think You need to be more than 200 feet from anyone’s property, which rules out pretty much all of LA county. This also goes for firing guns on property that You own.

      • Last time I checked (and I can’t find my reference or a quick answer), it was illegal to discharge a firearm in Los Angeles City limits…and the definition of firearm is very loose, including air rifles, bb guns, etc. Rural county areas may have different laws.

      • If he was standing on pavement, that “warning shot” could have deflected and still killed him or someone else. If you are worried about defending yourself from another dog, carry pepper spray. Police officers are discharging their weapons for any little thing now, that needs to stop. There is a Facebook page about this, look up “Justice for the Murder of our Family Pets” and you will see how often this is happening now.

  3. As the story is presented, the shooting sounds reasonable and legitimate — presuming the story to be true. The story is a VICIOUS dog attacking. That warrants protecting yourself, and being a police officer, he just happened to have the means to do so. Had it been me, I might have just been ripped to pieces by such a dog. I have no idea who that dog was, just a pet from the neighborhood that got out, or a wild stray, maybe even with rabies, from the adjacent Los Angeles River bed.

    The only thing about the story that leaves me wondering: Why is there no injured or dead dog? If the dog was attacking, it had to be right there, not a half a block away. How could a trained LAPD officer miss at that range? And if the answer is because he was under attack by the dog, his aim was not so good, then how could a trained LAPD officer decide to fire under those conditions — someone could have been killed if he were shooting wildly!? If his bullet(s) didn’t end up in the dog, then where did it/they end up — and good thing no one happened to be standing there?

  4. This was not a vicious dog, but a pet named Thunder, who was out on a walk with his owner and another dog. Thunder was shot; he managed to return to his owner before collapsing. The Shooter talked to the owner for a short while, then RAN, leaving owner with the dying dog. Thunder died. The police are being informed of this.
    The shelter where his body was brought to guessed that a cop shot him, because apparently cops shoot a lot of dogs.

  5. Nobody likes hipsters

    What an asshole. Just by reading this story real quick I would bet that the dog wasn’t as “vicious” as the officer said and I’m sure his life and his dog’s life were not in jeopardy. It’s too bad cops can get away with pulling crap like this.

    If PetLover’s accounts are correct the Eastsider needs to update the original story.

    This was not a “dog attack” at all like the title states. It was an off duty officer taking advantage and abusing his power.

    • Well, even with PetLover’s story, you are presumptuously jumping to a conclusion when you say it was not a dog attack. PetLover never says the dog did not attack. And I have yet to come across a dog owner who says anything but that their dog is nice and gentle, even as the damn dog attacks any time you walk by that home. Hey, the dog is always nice and gentle with them — but they’re the owner, making them the dog’s territory — for some reason, dog owners never seem to understand this, how their nice and gentle dog can be quite hostile to a stranger just because they are a stranger.

      Now, on the other hand, I also don’t want to jump to any presumption that the LAPD officer was attacked and properly defended himself (and your life does not have to be in danger, only your health and safety). Heck, PetLover might enlighten us more and tell whether the dog attacked. And I am not used to offering a defense of a cop’s actions, would normally be on the other side — but I do have a sense of fairness and believe in getting the details (which is why I normally find myself on the other side)!

      Of course, if the officer “ran” away, that certainly is not the least bit acceptable following a shooting. Still, I don’t automatically accept that (but don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying PetLover is telling anything but absolute truth). We need to hear more about that.

      And don’t forget, we have a leash law in this city — for this very reason. It sounds like the dog was not on a leash — although admittedly, it is hard to make that presumption with the inadequate info we have. But if that dog was not on a leash — there’s the problem. If the dog’s owner had the dog on a leash as required, I doubt this ever would have happened.

      And what kind of dog was this?

  6. Its not legal for me to do this but I do carry a gun at all times. If this shit head cop had crossed paths with me and my dogs on a walk I hate to think how things would have worked out.

  7. @ Josh; Bill speaks the truth.

  8. This is why I always have my dogs on a leash, Pigs just want any little reason to pop off with there guns, that is why they took the job.

  9. Not all cops are pigs but the a majority of the rank and file are, sorry I have many in the family that is just the truth.

  10. There are countless cases of Police shooting dogs, see this site: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dogs-Shot-by-Police/188434097845629
    Police should be informed to use non-lethal weapons.

    Hey, Nic, peace be with you. It’s being investigated now so I’m withholding details, but the dog was not a pitbull. It never attacked any one in it’s entire life at all. It was a Family pet that got along with children and other dogs.
    To the others, thanks for your concern and comments.

  11. Bill Goodstuff keep it real.lol.Sheriffs dept wouldn’t miss that’s for sure then again they don’t shoot @ dogs or pets.LAPD needs a real indoor range..OC spray would b less lethal ..

  12. This matter of Police shooting dogs has been going on, see link of LA Times Article in 2005 “Shooting of Dogs by Police Not Unusual.”

    The family of Thunder is heartbroken. They are hoping that the public will ask the authorities to:
    1. Provide LAPD Officers with training so they can distinguish between a dog that is dangerous versus one that is simply frightened;
    2. Use non-lethal force instead of guns for dogs;

    The Facebook site “Dogs Shot by Police” has a number of petitions and a lot of information. There are numerous cases where Police have entered backyards and shot pets there.

    Please do something to save other Family Pets from being shot by the police!

  13. Here’s the link to the 2005 LA Times Article “Shooting of Dogs by Police Not Unusual.”

    It is 2012, and the shooting continues. Please do your part, no matter how small, to end this violence and cruelty.

  14. The journalist didn’t bother to check on the family’s side of the story. As many lazy journalists seem to do, they simply parroted what the police said had happened. Sells news but not much relationship to truth or objectivity, those old-fashioned journalistic virtues.

    The dog was a pet LABRADOR named Thunder who was out on a walk with his owner and another dog at around 11:30 p.m. Thunder was shot near Dorris and Blake; he managed to return to his owner. The off-duty Police talked to the dog owner for a while, then RAN. Thunder was able to make it home where he died.

    Thunder did not attack anyone that night, nor had he ever attacked anyone

    P.S. A “vicious” Labrador?!? Are you Fing kidding me?

    • The story clearly says “according to the Northeast Division Twitter feed” — and since this blog was just reporting that account, there’s no way they could know who the family was or what happened.

      That said, this is truly horrible and sad.

  15. Maybe thunder should of been on a leash!

  16. I’m all for pet containment, but I took out my Scales of Justice. On the left side, I put “Dog unleashed” and on the right I put “Shoot a Dog” . The right side is far heavier.

    I don’t like Police shootings of people and pets.

    From LA Times, Oct. 2, 2012 – “A federal jury has handed down the latest multimillion-dollar verdict against the Los Angeles Police Department, finding officers were “malicious” and excessive when they shot a mentally ill woman and then used a stun gun on her.

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