Man with ‘aggressive’ German shepherd fatally shot by police in Washington

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — A man with a German shepherd was fatally shot by police in Vancouver, Washington on Saturday, authorities said in a release.

Witnesses who spoke with Nexstar’s KOIN described a scene that escalated very quickly in front of their eyes.

The incident began around 1:45 p.m. PT when police were alerted to a man with a gun and “an aggressive German shepherd” who had gotten loose and reportedly bit at least one person. Just before 3 p.m., police spotted the man and dog, which allegedly tried to bite a passerby.

At that point, authorities said, the man pointed “what appeared to be a firearm” at one of the officers, who then shot the man. Authorities administered medical care to the man but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The German shepherd continued to be aggressive toward emergency crews and was tethered to a dumpster, Vancouver police explained. The dog was later taken away by the Humane Society.

One person is being treated for dog bite wounds.

A man with "an aggressive German shepherd" was shot and killed by Vancouver police. The dog was taken away by the Humane Society, June 8, 2024 (KOIN)
A man with “an aggressive German shepherd” was shot and killed by Vancouver police. The dog was taken away by the Humane Society, June 8, 2024 (KOIN)

Two Vancouver officers are on paid administrative leave during the investigation, standard procedure in similar instances. The officers’ body-worn cameras will be reviewed and released at a later time, according to Vancouver police.

The investigation will be led by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

Three witness accounts

KOIN spoke with three people who say they witnessed either the shooting or the immediate aftermath.

One witness, Morgan, said he came over the bridge and heard someone yelling in Russian at him. Morgan kept going but noticed the German shepherd was on a leash. “This other guy was walking in the opposite direction and I happened to look back and I saw the dog nip the guy. And then I just saw this other cop hop out of his car and start shooting at him. That’s all I saw. I couldn’t believe it.”

Shannon said she and her wife were attending the Pride event when they came around the corner “and saw a man down.”

“There was about four or five officers at that time and then they (extra police backup) just came in all directions,” Shannon said, estimating there were “around 30 cop cars” at the scene.

  • This man, Morgan, was a witness to Vancouver police shooting and killing a man with an "aggressive German shepherd", June 8, 2024 (KOIN)
    This man, Morgan, was a witness to Vancouver police shooting and killing a man with an "aggressive German shepherd", June 8, 2024 (KOIN)
  • This person, Shannon, was a witness to Vancouver police shooting and killing a man with an "aggressive German shepherd", June 8, 2024 (KOIN)
    This person, Shannon, was a witness to Vancouver police shooting and killing a man with an "aggressive German shepherd", June 8, 2024 (KOIN)
  • This woman, Rose, was a witness to Vancouver police shooting and killing a man with an "aggressive German shepherd", June 8, 2024 (KOIN)
    This woman, Rose, was a witness to Vancouver police shooting and killing a man with an "aggressive German shepherd", June 8, 2024 (KOIN)

Rose said she and her husband were heading to a brewery when “we noticed someone who looked like a homeless man who had a German shepherd with them.” She explained that the man “was obviously agitated” as he walked up the street and gave “the finger to the cop.”

“And the man walking his dog was giving [the cop] the finger and yelling at him but still walking up this way. And then another man was coming down this way and the man’s German shepherd kind of leaped at him,” Rose continued. “So that made the cop car come up and stop to the man who had passed and asked him a question. I saw the man shake his head no, and went on his way. So he was obviously not hurt by the German shepherd at all and kept walking.”

Then the gunfire happened very quickly.

“At that moment the cop kept following the man with the German shepherd and stopped his car,” Rose said. “And the other cop car came and pulled in and then the cop came out of the car immediately and pulled their gun and within seconds I heard pop pop pop, three shots. And the guy was on the ground, completely down. And then a bunch of other cop cars came in, I mean a lot of them. Gosh, I don’t know — like 20 cop cars.”

As other officers arrived with what Rose described as an “assault weapon,” the dog was still near his owner in a protective mode, she said.

“And then there were more pops, more shots towards the dog because they were trying to get the dog to not come. And they finally got control of the dog, pulled him aside. But that’s what happened. The man was down immediately, within seconds and they didn’t try to de-escalate at all. I mean, when the cop came, they got out of their car and they shot him. I mean, it was within seconds.”

It’s unclear if the dog is still with the humane society.

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