Dog owner charged, dogs shot by RPD after attack - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Animal control charges owner of dogs police shot near school bus stop

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Gunfire erupted Thursday morning at a Richmond school bus stop and it was police firing the weapons. According to police, those officers were shooting at dogs that had bitten a man on Erich Road near Midlothian Turnpike. The owner of the Brindle Pit Bulls is now facing charges. Still, parents called NBC12 concerned about what happened.

The situation escalated pretty quickly. It started in The ROC parking lot, where police say two aggressive dogs attacked a man. Officers were able to rescue the victim, but the Pit Bulls then ran over to an apartment complex, where children were getting ready to go to school.

Kimberly Coward's description of the sights and sounds Thursday morning is not common at a school bus stop.

"I heard open gunfire and the parents are running, the kids are running," she recalled. "I was like what is going on!"

The Richmond mom was so upset about what went down as she walked with her five- and seven-year-olds, she had to call NBC12.

"Boom, boom, boom, I was just, I was a little shocked, like do I really see policemen with guns and kids at the bus stop," she remembered thinking.

Coward says the bus had already pulled up to its stop and was waiting for the kids to get on when just about 50 yards away the incident with the dogs and police was getting bad.

We brought Coward's concerns to Sector Lt. John Garcia. He explains the threat from the Brindle Pit Bulls escalated quickly.

"This officer did a very good job," Garcia asserted. "He got up on a porch, was firing down. He had selected a shotgun which is a much shorter range weapon, so the chance of ricochets and stray shots is really minimized."

Still, Coward believes police could've handled the situation better. She says there was no warning about the dogs or the gunfire and nothing to let parents know they should shield their children.

"It's about the kid's safety," she maintained. "A bullet don't have no name on it."

"We realize that parents are concerned," Lt. Garcia responded. "It's a frightening experience. It's not something people deal with every day. So I would say just trust that we're doing the best we can with it and if we could have done something like that we would have."

One dog was killed by the shot. The other had to be euthanized because of its injuries. Rabies is a concern here. One of the charges deals with out of date vaccinations. NBC12 has learned both animals have been sent to the state lab for rabies testing.

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