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Crime Scene - Should police have shot Parrot?

Crime Scene - Should police have shot Parrot?

Should police have shot Parrot?

Matt Zapotosky

I’ve gotten several e-mails and phone calls about my story on the dog that was shot during the Adams Morgan festival Sunday afternoon.

Most are from witnesses supporting the dog owner’s version of events, though none yet have been able to say what happened down in the stairwell where the dog was ultimately shot.

From Adams Morgan Day. (Courtesy Dylan Singleton)

Sherita Ala’i, for example, wrote to say her daughter, 9-year-old Neda Changuit, was the one mentioned at the bottom of the story, watching in horror as the shooting unfolded.

She said the dog was “subdued/contained” and there was “no need” for the police to shoot it. Though she did not see the dog after it was down the steps, she said she watched "with shock and total disbelief" as the officer fired.

( On Post Now: Owner of dog that was attacked talks about incident. )

“I thought initially that it couldn't possibly be a real gun,” she said.

Conor Healy, Neda’s father, said he, too, saw the officer draw his gun and fire. He said the officer did so calmly, after it appeared the situation had been resolved.

“Thankfully we didn’t see the bloody mess that was created," he said. "It just seemed completely out of proportion and just shocking that somebody would fire a gun on the street.”

Their accounts highlight the two main points of dispute here. First, was the dog under control before the officer threw him down the stairwell, or even before the officer got involved? And second, did the dog charge the officer before he shot?

Jacob Kishter, commander of the police's third district, said the officer remains on full duty status while investigators probe what happened. He said while he has no information to contradict what he said Sunday -- essentially, that Officer Scott Fike was justified in shooting the dog -- the investigation is ongoing. Police have received e-mails about the case, he said, and are reviewing pictures and other materials that have surfaced on neighborhood listservs.

A picture is circulating online that seems to show the dog, a 2-year-old Shar-Pei mix named Parrot, being controlled by the officer in the way his owner has described. The owner, Aaron Block, said even before this, he himself had the dog under control, and then an officer took him away.

Sushi, the dog that was attacked. (Courtesy Sheila Martins Silva)

Other witnesses have said the situation was more chaotic. Soleiman Askarinam, the owner of Spaghetti Garden, said several officers had to get the dog under control, and he felt police “did a good job” in controlling a volatile situation.

Tony De Pass, 67, a former D.C. police officer who lives in Northwest, said the dog snapped at the officer as the officer was holding it down, which prompted the officer to toss it down the stairwell. De Pass also said the dog charged at the officer before the shooting.

Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, the group that was trying to adopt out Parrot, has released a copy of the police report in the incident.

The report is nearly identical to Fike's and De Pass's accounts.

It’s important to note that police do not dispute that the officer had the dog pinned before the shooting. They simply dispute that the situation was totally under control at that moment in time.

Did you see the dog charge up the stairwell or act aggressively after he was pinned? Better yet, do you have photo or video of what happened? E-mail me at if so.

This item has been updated since it was first published.

-- Matt Zapotosky

By Matt Zapotosky | September 13, 2010; 7:19 PM ET


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