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Cop cleared in dog shooting

Published: Fri, May 1, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.


Curtis Moses of Youngstown said he understands that police officers have a job to do, but he said one Youngstown officer went too far. Moses’ 7-month-old dog, Diva, was fatally shot about 13 times during a pursuit of felony suspects. He shows off the spent bullets and marks and holes on the floor left behind in the wake of the shooting on his E Lucius in Youngstown home.

The dog’s owners said the dog had no history of being aggressive.


YOUNGSTOWN — An internal- affairs investigation found that a city police officer followed procedure in the shooting death of a dog while pursuing suspects.

“We interviewed the other officers who were the only witnesses to what happened,” said police Chief Jimmy Hughes. “He followed our policies and procedures. Basically, he was in fear for his life.”

Officer Ryan Laatsch was among the officers in an April 5 pursuit of juveniles who’d been driving down South Side streets shooting.

The driver fled from police and pulled into a front yard on Lucius Avenue where officers chased the five suspects on foot, according to a police report.

One of the youths ran and was followed into the East Lucius Avenue home of Curtis Moses and Darcel Gilmore. The teen ran down the basement stairs to hide, and when officers opened the basement door from the kitchen, they were met by the couple’s 7-month-old, 42-pound Akita, Diva.

The dog was aggressive, Hughes said, and Laatsch was within his rights to shoot it to protect himself just as if his life had been threatened by a person.

The couple previously told The Vindicator that the dog, still a puppy, had no history of aggression and had been trained to go upstairs to go outside when the basement door opened.

They said they had no relationship to the teenager who ran into their home. One of the other youths is Gilmore’s son, but he doesn’t live at the East Lucius home, the couple has said.

Officers didn’t enter the home intending to shoot a dog, Hughes said. But they were looking for the suspects, one of whom entered the home and at least one of whom was likely armed, the chief said.

Laatsch fired 13 times at the dog, killing it.


1luvsdogs(70 comments)posted 7 years ago

Curtis and Darcel so very, very sorry for your loss of Diva. Firing 13 times at a 7 month old dog is outrageous.

Blue Code of Silence
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Blue Code of Silence is an unwritten code of "honour" among many police officers in which reporting another officer's errors, misconduct, or crimes is regarded as a betrayal

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2HundredReasons(31 comments)posted 7 years ago

I agree with the comment above. Sorry for the loss and for the residual effects on you and your family.

As for the ruling by the police... "The dog was aggressive, Hughes said, and Laatsch was within his rights to shoot it to protect himself just as if his life had been threatened by a person"... sure, I wasn't there to see it all happen. But even giving the benefit of the doubt to the officer, 13 shots does not seem reasonable.

This leads me to think that the officer is either stressed to the point of over reacting (i.e., trigger happy), an extremely bad shot, or that he has no perspective on how debilitating a bullet wound is... both immediate and even 30-seconds after entry into the body.

Just one more reason why the mass public distrusts the inherent judgement capacity of the Yo. police force. Just one more example of how justice ultimately gets remanded back into the neighborhoods. Just one more reason why the force needs to swept clean of legacy policies and personnel and replaced with forward thinkers and individuals qualified in carrying out even the most basic of police matters without failing the stress test.

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3Level_Headed(30 comments)posted 7 years ago

Yes, it would have been much better to have let the dog attack you, then attack any of your fellow officers that tried to assist you. We have to give dogs their rights as individuals.
(Hopefully the sense of sarcam is noted here, as is the rolling of eyes)

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4Lifesnadir(164 comments)posted 7 years ago

13 shots into a 7-month old dog (puppy) is an excessive use of force and outright murder. And the last shot was to the head----like the other dozen shots didn't put the dog on the floor? Cops should be trained to be humane (many arent' -- neither human nor humane!) and drive the dog to an emergency vet's office, rather than standing over it and putting the last shot through it's brain !

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5topocohontas(3 comments)posted 7 years ago

If the officer would have shot someone in the house, don't you think his "buddies" would have cover his behind also. Luckly is was a dog which is just as wrong. Come to my house an "YOU" may be the one not walking home!!!!!!! I will protect my home from anyone entering with out my permission shot first ask questions later

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