My favorite story from Real Shootouts of the LAPD is a hero story. Recently, it’s become fashionable to berate POlice officers, imply that everything they do is horrible and corrupt, and call for the POlice to be ‘defunded.’ Rarely does the media focus on the heroic acts that officers are sometimes called upon to do for the public. This story is one example.
OFFICER-INVOLVED ANIMAL SHOOTING – 035-14
Link to LAPD Categorical Use of Force Report
The entire Public Report is available at the link above. Here’s a synopsis of the incident.
Officer A, later identified as Officer Jennifer Aguila, and her companion Officer B were off duty and had just arrived home from grocery shopping. When they arrived home, Officer Aguila noticed two neighbors outside their home acting frantically.
Officer Aguila went over and asked if they needed help. One neighbor replied that he was locked out of his house and his pit bull dog was attacking his four year old child inside. The neighbor said the back door was open but apparently it was not readily accessible from the front of the house because rose bushes blocked off the back yard. Officer Aguila immediately took action. She jumped over the neighbor’s fence and picked up a small stick.
Since the animal was a pit bull, Officer Aguila told Officer B to bring her an off-duty snub nose revolver from the car. Officer B brought the revolver and tossed it over the fence to Officer Aguila. She then made her way to the back. To get to the back door, she had to plow through the rose bushes that blocked off the yard.
Through the partially open sliding back door, Officer Aguila observed that the floor was covered in blood and the pit bull was next to the child, attacking it. According to the Board of POlice Commissioner’s report, “the pit bull was removing and eating the child’s flesh.”
Office Aguila discarded the stick and scanned the room for other dogs but saw none. The BOPC report reads:
Officer A moved into the living room with the revolver in a two-hand low-ready position. In defense of the child’s life, Officer A fired four shots at the pit bull in a northwest direction at a downward angle. Officer A fired on the move, from a decreasing distance of approximately twelve to seven feet.LAPD Board of POlice Commissioners
To save a child’s life, she made entry, closed with, and did battle with a large, vicious, literally ‘man-eating’ dog. Her weapon was what is commonly referred to as an “arm’s length gun,” a snub nose revolver.
After the first four shots, the badly injured child stood up and, in a disoriented manner, began to walk toward the dog. Fearing the wounded animal would again attack the child, Officer Aguila then closed to within three feet of the dog and used her final round to deliver a coup de grâce into the dog’s rib cage.
Officer Aguila then picked up the child, went outside, gave it to its parent, and had them call for a Rescue Ambulance. When the parent was unable to provide first aid for the child, Officer Aguila took the child back and applied direct pressure to the child’s wounds until the ambulance arrived.
If that’s not a hero, I don’t know who is.
News reports https://www.dailybulletin.com/2014/07/08/fontana-family-pit-bull-mauls-4-year-old-child/ indicate that the child was badly injured in the attack. Both his ears were severed, one completely, and one left hanging by a strip of flesh. The severed ear was found under the dog by another officer. The child also had numerous puncture wounds to the head and face. Odds are that without Officer Aguila’s intervention, he would have been killed. The severed ear was successfully re-attached by surgeons because the officer who found it immediately put it on ice and took it to the hospital.
The BOPC Public Report says the Officer Aguila had been an LAPD officer for 2 years and 7 months.
Not all the stories in the book are hero stories but that one is. I enjoy stories about real heroes so I had to include that one.
Interesting fact about shooting vicious or dangerous animals: animals suspected of having rabies shouldn’t be shot in the head. The brain tissue has to be tested in two places. A headshot precludes doing the test.
I love and work with canines, but this called for this action by Officer Aguila. She made the right decisions.