A Baltimore police officer out walking his department dog in Druid Hill Park Wednesday afternoon shot and killed a pit bull that he said was attacking him, according to a police report.
Police said Officer Jake Corbett was near the department's K-9 headquarters near Swann Drive when he noticed a pit bull running off the leash. The police dog, Thoda, was wearing a harness with Baltimore police patches and a neon police identification tag on a six-foot leash.
Corbett said in a report that a black dog stared down Thoda from atop a hill about 100 yards away. The officer said he did not see the dog's owner nearby.
"To avoid any situation with the dog's owner, Corbett turned around and began to walk at a fast pace with K-9 back toward the police building," the report says. The report says the black dog bounded down the hill toward Thoda.
Corbett said he walked faster to get away from the dog but the dog caught up "and jumped up at him while barking very loudly and showing a lot of aggression." Corbett spun around twice, police said, to try and get away and avoid a dog fight.
But, the report says, the black dog "lunged up at him while barking. At this time, Officer Corbett, fearing for his life, pulled out his Glock 23 from his holster with his right hand and shot the dog once in the head."
Police said the dog died.
The report says the dog's owner, hearing the gunshot, raced to the scene screaming and identified the pit bull as "Mann," a 2-year-old pit bull-Mastiff mix. The owner told police that she had been playing with him near trees.
Baltimore police released the police report on the shooting but blacked out the name of the owner. Police gave no explanation why they deleted the name. But the owners, Tomika Webb and Mandy Clark, spoke to ABC 2 News and said the officer did not need to shoot the dog.
"If he ran towards you and you were intimidated by his size or whatever, scream,” Tomika Webb, “Your first reaction should not be to pull out your gun and shoot."
The incident recalls the 2010 shooting of Siberian husky Bear-Bear, who was killed by an off-duty federal police officer who said the dog was acting aggressively. That officer was convicted of animal cruelty and weapons charges, and was sentenced to community service.
[This post has been updated]