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Family says El Paso police officer shoots their three-legged dog

By: Stacey Welsh

EL PASO, Texas -- An east El Paso family said an officer from the El Paso Police Department shot their pit bull when responding to their home last week.

Owner Deborah Hawthorne said she doesn't understand why an officer would shoot at her dog, Gracie, because she was already missing a leg after being hit by a car. Gracie did survive the shooting.

"She's handicapped. She's not a threat. She can't charge really. She never has charged," Hawthorne said.

Hawthorne said this all started when her husband got into an argument with someone else earlier that night. Because she said her husband was holding a knife, that person reported it to the police.

She said she is also upset the shooting happened in front of her 11-year-old daughter.

"When [the police officer] discharged that weapon, it ricochet off the concrete and the house. It almost went through my daughter's legs. It was right there at the door so she could have been hit," Hawthorne said.

Hawthorne said two officers responded to her home, and one fired at Gracie. The shot hit her in her only back paw.

"I saw the officer in the yard. He was off in an angle to the house in the shadows. I saw a flash and the smoke come up and that's when I saw Gracie crawling toward me," Hawthorne said.

She also said the officers did not identify themselves.

"I asked them at least five times what their names were and what their badge numbers were. They did not talk to me. They refused to tell me anything about my husband," Hawthorne said.

The El Paso Police Department said it won't comment on the case now because it's still under investigation.

"As in all cases where an El Paso police officer discharges their weapon, these cases are thoroughly investigated by the Departments Shooting Review Team. This case is assigned to the Internal Affairs Division," El Paso Police Department spokesman Detective Darrel Petry said in a statement.

Hawthorne said she also plans to file charges against the Police Department.

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