A Georgia deputy shot and killed a police dog biting and mauling his leg during a foot pursuit of a domestic violence suspect.
He later discovered he had killed a sheriff’s K-9 officer, which had escaped from an officer’s patrol car and mistook him for the suspect.
“Verro,” the name of the Paulding County Sheriff’s K-9 officer was killed July 19 by the deputy after none of the deputies pursuing the suspect noticed the dog had gotten out of the vehicle through a narrow opening in the rear passenger window.
When Verro saw someone running away from him, he bit the deputy and did not let go.
After being unable to remove the dog biting his leg, the unnamed deputy says he followed his training by drawing his gun and shooting Verro, killing him, Sergeant Ashley Henson told WSBTV.
Verro was reportedly not wearing a vest or any thing that would have identified him as a K-9 police officer.
Deputies eventually apprehended the suspect, 20-year-old, Malik Richard Brand, who was taken into custody.
The Paulding County Sheriff says they are still investigating the shooting.
“It’s almost like the perfect storm of a horrible tragic situation,” Sergeant Henson said.
Currently, the sheriff’s office is refusing to publicly identify the deputy responsible for fatally shooting Verro.
Paulding County Sheriff Gary Gulledge says as a former handler, he sympathizes with the officers involved.
“Being a former K-9 handler, I know how special the bond is between a handler and his dog,” he said.
“The emotional grief everyone is going through, including the deputy who was bitten, has been overwhelming.”
The dog’s handler was following the department’s standard practice by not releasing Verro and leaving his window partially open, Sergeant Henson said.
“At the time Cpl. Kilgore arrived, the departmental criteria to deploy the dog had not been met so he did not release K-9 Verro,” Sergeant Henson told the West Georgia Neighbor.
But that’s how Verro slipped out of the vehicle only later to be shot and killed.
Verro died at the scene.