A Boston police officer shot and killed a pit bull that charged at police as they secured a handgun found on a Dorchester street, where four men had been shot and wounded earlier on the Fourth of July.
A police spokesman said the animal came at the officers “like a missile” and that the owners of the dog made no attempt to get control of it. But the owner of Chyna, an 8-year-old pit bull, said the animal bolted from her house and said she was trying to call it back when the dog was fatally shot.
“I screamed her name, ‘Chyna, stop,’ and her ears perked up and she turned. Then I heard ‘bap, bap, bap,’ ” said 59-year-old Shirley Goode, standing on her porch Thursday while pointing to the street, where she said her dog’s bloodstains were still visible.
According to Boston police Sergeant John Boyle, officers responded to the intersection of Fayston and Dunkeld streets around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday after a gun was found on the street when a car had pulled out and drove off. Around 6:40 p.m., four men were shot, one critically on the street, police said.
The officers established a secure crime scene and were in the midst of processing the area for evidence when the dog “came running from between two parked cars like a missile,’’ he said.
Boyle said the officers tried to retreat from the approaching animal whose owners “made no attempt to call off the dog or secure it” but were not able to do because the animal kept running in their direction.
One officer pulled a service weapon and fired, killing the dog. The number of shots the officer fired was not disclosed.
At the time of the shooting, the officers could not move away from the crime scene and also found themselves positioned in front of civilians, including children, who had gathered to watch as the investigation was conducted at the scene, Boyle said.
“There were many other civilians, including children behind the officers,” Boyle said. “If the dog got behind them, it would have been running at civilians, including children.”
In a statement, Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans said his officers acted to protect themselves and civilians.
“In addition to the constant barrage of illegal fireworks in the vicinity, an unleashed vicious dog charged at my officers as well as other adults and children in the neighborhood creating an immediate danger,’’ Evans said.
He added, “We hate to harm any animal, but my officer was forced to make a split-second decision thinking clearly, quickly, and decisively to use his firearm in a safe and effective manner to prevent injury to the officers and civilians on scene.”
Goode, the dog’s owner, told the Globe her pet was rattled by the shooting earlier Wednesday and she had brought the dog inside to keep the animal safe. The dog escaped, however, when a family member came into the house.
She said the shooting left her and her family devastated.
“I was so hurt I had to crawl up the stairs,” she added. “That night, I had a mouth on me.”
Goode said the officers didn’t let her approach her dog because it was an active crime scene. After they left, they didn’t tell her where she could find Chyna’s remains, she added.
“I’m going to try to do something about this,” she said. “It’s gonna be a big stink.”Jerome Campbell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @jeromercampbell. John R. Ellement can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.