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Southwest Daily News - Sulphur, LA
  • Monday morning shooting of dog by SPD officer called into question

  • An internal investigation has been launched into a Monday morning officer-involved shooting in the parking lot of the Southwest Daily News office that stemmed from an alleged dog attack. But one witness at the scene maintains that the officer shot the animal without provocation.
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  • An internal investigation has been launched into a Monday morning officer-involved shooting in the parking lot of the Southwest Daily News office that stemmed from an alleged dog attack. But one witness at the scene maintains that the officer shot the animal without provocation.
    Sulphur Police responded to a call around 7:20 a.m., April 28, from the Southwest Daily News office regarding two suspicious-looking men with a dog hanging around the newspaper's box trucks located in the office's back parking lot. The two young men, transients from Maine, were reportedly found by an officer around the back of one truck with a dog that was initially thought to be a black Rottweiler mix but was later found to be a Newfoundland black Labrador mix. The men had allegedly gotten into the back of the vehicle, which belonged to the newspaper, in order to get out of the rain.
    After handcuffing and placing the two men on the ground, investigating SPD officer Brian Thierbach proceeded to do a follow-up at the scene. It was then that Thierbach alleges the dog attacked him, biting him on his shoe. He then shot and killed the animal.
    Witness Eric Midkiff contends that the dog never attacked the officer, saying in his official statement that the officer asked the men if the dog would bite and they told him that it would not. He also stated that he saw the dog wagging his tail and acting in a friendly manner and that it was when the dog bumped against Thierbach that the officer immediately responded by shooting the animal.
    The SPD could make no further comments on the shooting, as the incident, like any other shooting involving an officer, is now under an internal investigation.
    “We take these things seriously,” said Mel Estess, SPD Public Information Officer.
    The two men were charged with vehicular trespassing and released later in the day on Monday.
    Update:
    The dog's owner, Brandon Carpenter, maintains that his 15 month-old Newfoundland black Labrador mix, who went by the name Arzy Kenzington, was of the gentlest disposition, a "teddy bear."  As well, he states that the officer shot the dog while it was still attached to a four foot leash and tied up.
    "All he had to do is take one giant step back," he said in a phone interview with Southwest Daily News on Tuesday. "Why didn't he ask me to move the dog or just take one big step back if he was uncomfortable?"
    Carpenter emphasized that he would pursue justice for Arzy to the full extent of the law.
    "I'm not going to allow this to get swept away," he said. 
    Update:
    Page 2 of 2 - On Wednesday morning, Sulphur Mayor Chris Duncan and Sulphur Police Chief Lewis Coats announced that the investigation into the shooting is being conducted in conjunction with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office. 
    Update:
    Sulphur Police Chief Lewis Coats issued a statement Wednesday about the investigation.
    "I would like to take this opportunity to address the concerns of the citizens of Sulphur in reference to the incident which occurred during the morning of April 28. I want to assure you that this incident is being taken seriously and is being investigated thoroughly. The Sulphur Police Department is working in conjunction with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office on the investigation. Your patience is appreciated in this matter, and a press release will be forthcoming once the investigation is complete," said Coats.
    He asks that if anyone has "rightly witnessed the incident" that they contact Mel Estess, SPD Public Information Officer at (337) 527-4550.
    Update:
    As of Thursday afternoon, a peace rally in honor of Arzy has been planned for Saturday, May 3, 3 p.m., in the Heritage Square area, off of Ruth Street in Sulphur.

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