Commerce City police ask DA to investigate officer shooting, killing of aggressive pitbull

Police Chief requests independent review

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. - The Commerce City Police Department has asked the Adams County District Attorney's Office to investigate an incident where an officer shot and killed a reportedly aggressive pit bull last weekend.

Neighbors captured the Saturday dog shooting on video, which has drawn national attention on the Internet.

Interim Chief of Police Chuck Saunier said he asked the District Attorney's Office to take over the investigation to ensure a thorough and unbiased third-party review.

"As law enforcement personnel, we want to maintain the highest standards and make sure our actions are above reproach," Saunier said. "I remain optimistic that the investigation will determine all of the facts of this tragic event."

The department's initial statement about the shooting and 911 call and dispatch tapes are available the city website. Police said the city expects the results of the independent investigation to be shared with the community in a transparent manner.

Officers were dispatched to the 9600 block of Nucla Street about 11:30 a.m. Saturday after receiving a 911 call reporting an aggressive pit bull loose in the neighborhood.

Detective Christian Rasmussen said officers tried to find a person responsible for the dog for 20 minutes before deciding the dog needed to be caught and taken to the animal shelter.

When officers approached the dog, named Chloe, Rasmussen said it continued to be aggressive. They tried to get control of the dog by using a Taser, but that didn't work.

Neighbor Kenny Collins watched the whole thing unfold from his yard as family members shot the video.

"It went so fast," Collins said.

The video shows an animal control officer putting a catchpole around Chloe's neck, but struggling to control her. That is when an officer comes from behind and fires five shots.

Collins, the neighbor, said, "I can't speak for what he was thinking as a police officer. It's a job I wouldn't want. He has to make decisions we don't want to make."

The dog was temporarily in the care of the owner's relative, Rasmussen said. She was charged with numerous violations, including possessing a vicious animal and violating the city's pit bull ban. The woman had left her home Saturday but didn't realize the dog managed to get out as she drove away from her garage.