Charlie played with kids in the swing and ran fence-to-fence in the front yard chasing passing motorcycles.
The Garcias put Charlie down on Monday after a bullet from a Miami-Dade police gun ripped through his chin and tongue when he was shot in his North Miami-Dade front yard.
The Garcias, who got the 2-year-old American bulldog from Miami-Dade Animal Services, say the bullet didn’t have to be fired. Miami-Dade police said the shooting is under Internal Affairs review.
“He was loving to us. Very protective of us. Loyal to his death,” Adrian Garcia said Tuesday afternoon at the home in the 12200 block of 18th Court. "To us, he was a member of the family."
In a voice with gentle emotional ripples of someone who can’t cry anymore, Garcia said the gunshot woke him up around 10:30 a.m. Monday. He went out the back door, then came around to the front yard, where Charlie lay bleeding near Garcia’s mother, Maria Gutierrez.
“I think I told my mom to hold the wound,” Garcia said. “I went out there and asked the officers, ‘What was the reason you had to shoot my dog?’ He said the dog came running to attack him."
Garcia said his mother, who wasn’t home Tuesday afternoon, gave this account: In Spanish, she asked the four officers to wait outside the fence while she put the dog inside away. The four officers came through the gate. A barking Charlie came around to the front yard and was near his mother when shot.
Garcia said the officers, who wore vests, showed the family a picture of the person for whom they were searching.
Two members of Garcia’s family rushed Charlie to the hospital, where veterinarians advised them that dog’s quality of life would be low should he live.
The Garcias, who also have a chihuahua named Dougie, said they’ll get a new dog after a mourning period. They aren’t in agreement on whether or not it’ll be another American Bulldog.