Red Bluff, CA – Video from a witness has been released, giving insight into the aftermath of a police shooting, as neighbors attempted to understand why an officer unloaded 16 rounds into two dogs they described as “non-aggressive,” and then waited nearly an hour to offer medical attention forcing his victim to suffer.
According to a report from Redding’s Record Searchlight, a police officer was called to a Red Bluff neighborhood on Sunday morning after receiving reports that two large dogs were chasing a girl on a bicycle. The responding officer claimed he opened fire on the dogs because they were “acting viciously and aggressively,” and were threatening to attack him.
However, in a video published on Facebook by Jimi Wade, a neighbor of the dogs’ owner, he claimed that the opposite had occurred. “He had no business shooting the dogs. They were in my driveway. He was the aggressor. The dogs were not the aggressor,” Wade said as he stood feet away from the officer who shot them.
The officer is shown standing near a patrol car with his arms crossed over his chest. While he is close enough to hear the claims Wade is making, and to be aware that he is being recorded, he does not respond.
“I’m walking up to a scene where a police officer on my block just shot two St. Bernards. They were not vicious. They were not after him. He did it on his own will,” Wade said, gesturing to the dogs’ owner who was assessing the scene and attempting to check on his pets. “These dogs were not aggressive. He put eight shots into each dog. This officer right here in front is the one that did the shooting.”
A statement from the Red Bluff Police Department claimed that when the officer first approached the dogs, he used pepper-spray on them, and when they ran away from him, he followed them in his patrol car to the driveway of a nearby residence.
While the department claims that the officer was trapped “between his car and a fence with both dogs coming toward him in an aggressive manner,” and that "to protect himself, the officer fired several shots at the dogs, injuring the one closest to him,” multiple residents have a different story.
Another neighbor, Amy Ball, told Record Searchlight that she witnessed the shooting, and was outraged when she read the way it was portrayed by police. “That whole entire report they wrote, that press release, I read it and I was in shock. It was all make-believe,” she said.
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Ball said she saw two different pairs of dogs—the St. Bernards, and another pair that began barking at them—and the St. Bernards who were murdered were harmlessly exploring the neighborhood.
“They didn’t seem interested in anything really. They were just kind of out free, exploring,” Ball said, serving as a second witness who has claimed the St. Bernards were not aggressively threatening anyone. She also claimed that the officer used his patrol car to push the dogs into the driveway before he got out and opened fire.
Ball told Record Searchlight that from what she witnessed, there is no reason why the officer should have fired over one dozen rounds, and no reason why he should have opened fire on both dogs.
“The first bullet dropped the dog and when the dog dropped, he kept unloading the gun,” Ball said, noting that the second dog “was walking away when the officer shot her.”
“I’m screaming ‘why did you shoot these dogs so many times? Why did you shoot them all?” Ball said.
While the Red Bluff Police officer shot and killed the first dog, he shot and wounded the second dog, and it was nearly 1 hour before the injured dog was given any medical attention—she later died. The department blamed the delay in medical attention on the neighborhood, claiming that "many of the neighbors became hostile to the officer and emergency treatment to the injured dog was delayed until the situation calmed down."
While the Tehama County District Attorney’s Office claims to be investigating the shooting, it remains to be seen whether the officer will be held accountable for his actions.
The neighbors have since set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for the vet bills and for the cremation of both dogs. You can visit it here if you'd like to help.