Cape Coral Police responded to a large disturbance at 1620 SE 46th Street this afternoon.
During the course of the investigation, as officers were quelling the physical encounter in the front yard of the resisence, one of the officers was struck on the back of the leg.
As the officer turned around, he observed a large unknown breed dog lunging at him.
The officer fired at the dog from his service weapon killing it.
As is standard procedure, the incident is under internal review.
Lee County Animal Control retrieved the dog.
Charles, James W. (w/m, 08/01/60)
1620 SE 46th Street was arrested on charges of:
Obstruction: Failure to follow lawful command.
Charles was released at the scene with a Notice to Appear in court in lieu of being taken to jail.
(this is not uncommon in misdemeanor cases.)
*please hold all further inquiries until Monday. Thank you.
Date: February 7, 2011
Subject: Update: Cape Coral Police Dog Shooting
*Note: The dog was examined by a veterinarian from Lee County Domestic Animal Services (Animal Control). Here are his findings:
Breed: Pit Bull
Age: 2-5 years
The information received by Cape Coral Police Dispatch, was that an unknown caller was yelling at a subject in the background; the caller then disconnected. CCPD Communications re-contacted the caller, who stated that he had been struck and that he needed police assistance and again hung up the phone. A second unidentified caller contacted CCPD Dispatch and stated that a male was passed out on the ground and now a bunch of people were fighting and one was armed with a baseball bat.
Officer Christopher Wilson arrived moments later and observed multiple subjects outside of the house, one of which was indeed armed with a baseball bat. The Officer got out of his patrol car and drew his weapon while shouting verbal commands at the subjects to get on the ground. All of the subjects complied with the exception of James St. Charles who was inside the residence, standing at the open front window, yelling expletives back to Officer Wilson.
At this time, the officer was alone on the scene (waiting for backup), having to contend with multiple subjects and St. Charles refusing to comply with the officer’s orders to show his hands. Remember, this was a disturbance call involving weapons and injuries and all weapons and injuries had not yet been accounted for.
At this moment, the officer felt something strike the back of his leg. He looked behind him and saw a black dog moving around him, circling to his left. The dog was a 50lb Pit Bull. Officer Wilson then refocused on the multiple subjects and the non-compliant St. Charles. Officer Wilson looked back at the direction of the dog and saw that he was in a crouched position and was not secured by a leash.
He then had to refocus on the subjects from the disturbance ensuring that they were still compliant. The officer then looked back at the direction of the dog and saw that it was now lunging at him in an aggressive manner. The officer then shot the dog, believing it was going to attack him.
Upon backup arriving and assisting in gaining control of the scene, several sworn statements were gathered from witnesses.
Nicole Lanzilatti (who lives next door) stated: “…during the incident, a black pit bull mix named bear was barking and running around. The dog approached the officer…barked and jumped a couple of times.
Brian Ferro (present during the incident) stated: “…the dog was jumping and barking.”
Thomas St. Charles (who lives next door / nephew of James St. Charles) stated: “…the dog was barking and circling the officer…”
Victoria St. Charles (who lives next door / niece of James St. Charles) stated: “Dog ran to cop, lunged at him 4 times.”
A firefighter who responded for the reported injuries was staged waiting for CCPD to secure the scene observed the incident. He provided a sworn statement: “I saw a member of CCPD pull up on scene and confront a male and female in the front yard. While he was attempting to have them sit on the ground, a black dog became aggressive towards the officer. The dog was circling the officer and jumping. It appeared that the dog was going to attack the officer when he fired the shots.”
A second firefighter stated: “I observed a CCPD officer shoot a dog that was aggressively pursuing the officer as he attempted to have multiple subjects on scene obey his commands.”
The Cape Coral Police Department has a policy that permits officers to use their weapons to protect themselves or another person from vicious, rabid, or otherwise dangerous animals. Upon review of the witness statements and the circumstances and facts surrounding the investigation, it was determined that officers acted within that policy.