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Florida Officer Shoots Pit Bull Dog, Wounds Owner Too

PALM BAY, Fla. --

Palm Bay police said a local officer shot a dog but ended up wounding a homeowner, too.

Investigators said the shot either ricocheted or debris from the bullet hit the bystander.

The Palm Bay officer told police he opened fire because the dog was charging at him.

However, the dog's owner, Charles Huggett, told WESH 2 News that the dog never would have attacked and that he believes the officer had no cause to fire.

Investigators said the officer had no choice but to protect himself and others.

"The fragments shot me," Huggett said.

Huggett is now home from the hospital after being wounded by police in his own front yard.

Palm Bay Officer Bob Rama and a Department of Children and Families worker said they had been doing a child welfare check at the home on Landry Avenue when investigators said the 2-year-old pit bull named Jules attacked.

"The dog escaped through the door, past the homeowner, and charged the officer," said Sgt. Steve Shytle.

"My dog ain't never bit nobody. She plays with the kids, all she was going to do was jump on the guy, instead the guy jumped back and shot him," said Huggett.

The officer shot the dog in the leg.

"I think [the officer is] wrong for shooting my dog, she's like one of my kids," Huggett said.

The dog is OK, but she was seized by animal control, and things only got worse for Huggett.

Investigators said either concrete pieces or bullet fragments hit Huggett as he tried to grab the dog.

"The dog was in attack mode, and he did what he did to defend himself," Shytle said.

The officer is on paid leave while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates this officer-involved shooting.

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