Rookie US cop shoots at dog, kills woman
A ROOKIE Texas police officer has accidentally shot and killed a woman behind a shopping plaza when he fired repeatedly at a dog believed to be hers that was running at him, authorities say.
The officer in the Dallas suburb of Arlington, who was released from supervised duty on July 1, responded to a welfare check on Thursday about a woman who appeared to be passed out in a grassy area behind the plaza.
Footage from the officer's body-worn camera released on Friday shows the officer walking along a footpath and calling out, "Hello. Are you OK?"
The woman replies, "Yeah, I'm fine." A dog approaches and the officer asks, "Is that your dog?"
As the barking dog runs toward him, the officer yells, "Get back!" He begins to back up and then fires three shots. The woman screams "Oh, my God!" and continues to cry out.
Police Chief Will Johnson said at a news conference that the dog, which he described as a Labrador mix, weighed about 18 kilograms.
Investigators believe the dog belonged to the woman, who the Tarrant County medical examiner's office identified as Margarita Brooks, 30.
Ms Brooks was shot in the "upper torso," Johnson said. The dog suffered a flesh wound and was quarantined, the chief said.
"Everything about this call is an absolute tragedy," a sombre Johnson said.
"Our hearts are broken for the Brooks family and for the officer involved. Our officer was on scene trying to find an individual who may be suffering from a medical emergency. Clearly, this is not the outcome the officer wanted, nor is it the outcome that the department wanted."
He said Ms Brooks' family had been shown the body camera video, and that criminal and administrative investigations are under way.
The 25-year-old officer, whose name hasn't been released, graduated from the police academy in February and hadn't fired his service weapon in the line of duty before Thursday, Johnson said.
The officer was placed on administrative leave.