March 07--MOSS POINT -- An agent with the Southeast Mississippi Metropolitan Enforcement Team shot a police K-9 while serving a search warrant Tuesday night, Moss Point Police Chief Keith Davis said.
The dog, a female Malinois named Cora, is 2 years old, Davis said, and the shooting occurred around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday inside a home in the 2900 block of Woodlawn Avenue.
Davis described the incident as an accident.
"The veterinarian said she's expected to make a full recovery," Davis said. "She is going to be off duty for 14 days."
Cora was purchased with a grant for $13,000, and is trained to find suspects and search for missing people as well as to detect drugs or explosives.
Prior to going to the home, agents had learned there were vicious dogs there.
Agents went to serve the search warrant at 7:10 p.m., according to the incident report the Sun Herald requested and obtained. The agent who shot the dog and wrote the report said he noticed a pit bull walking toward the patio area of the home where he and other agents had gathered shortly before entering the home. The pit bull, he said, was "aggressively barking/growling" as the agents prepared to force their way inside through a side door.
Once inside, agents saw the suspect sitting on a living room couch and ordered him to get on the ground. The suspect complied, the report said, and the agent started to walk in the direction of the suspect to handcuff him.
That's when, the report said, the agent realized a dog was "growling and grabbing the back of my pants behind my left knee."
Believing the dog attacking him was the pit bull he'd seen earlier, the report said, the agent reacted quickly, firing a round from his .45 caliber police revolver at the dog. The agent, the report said, then realized he'd shot Cora instead.
Davis said there was an entry/exit wound in the dog's left front leg. He said the shooting occurred because the agent "believed he was being attacked ... and as a result, turned and fired a round to isolate the threat of serious bodily injury."
The police chief said he wants an outside agency to do an independent investigation. He said the results of that investigation will be released upon completion.
Meanwhile, Davis said, Cora is recovering and back at home with her K-9 handler.
The SMMET comprises police officers from Moss Point, Gautier and Pascagoula. It was formed last year after the departments severed ties with the now defunct multi-jurisdictional Narcotics Task Force of Jackson County. The split with the task force came in the aftermath of a July 31 shooting at their office, resulting in an injury to an agent. Another agent, then commander Sgt. Jackie Trussell, has since been indicted on a charge of misdemeanor assault in connection with shooting.
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