Homestead - South Dade

Florida City’s family bulldog fatally shot by police officer

A Florida City police officer who was checking on an open car door in the driveway, knocked on the home’s front door and was met by a dog, whom he shot in the head several times and killed.

The dog was a 2-year-old Bulldog mix named Duchess.

Tuesday's scene was caught on surveillance video at the home, which is in the 800 block of Southwest Seventh Street in Florida City.

Ken Armenteros, a Florida City police spokesman, said the situation began at 7 a.m. after a patrolling detective, whom police did not identify, noticed a car with an open door parked in the driveway. Armenteros said the detective knocked on a door to make sure the car hadn’t been burglarized.

Sage Raphael, a daughter in the home, said she “left the passenger door a little bit open” while she ran inside to get her dog ready for an appointment with the veterinarian, police said.

Gillian Palacios, the mother of Sage, said Duchess ran out the door. “Someone’s at the door. She’s excited to see who it is, you know, normal dog behavior,” Palacios told Miami Herald news partner CBS4.

Duchess was shot within seconds after running outside, lying only a few feet from the door, the video shows.

Armenteros said the dog “rushed” the responding detective. He said the department offered its sympathy to the Palacios family.

“The family was grief stricken,” Armenteros said. “And that’s normal anytime you lose a member of the family.”

The investigation is ongoing and the officer involved has been placed on paid administrative leave, a standard procedure after an officer discharges his or her weapon.

The family is asking police for answers.

“He needs to take responsibility for his actions,” Raphael said. “If he didn’t want to be in this position, he should have never pulled that gun and made that first move.”