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St. Petersburg officer shoots and kills German shepherd near Williams Park

UPDATE: Police on Friday released the name of the officer who shot the dog. He is Officer Steven Laurenzi, 29. He has been an officer since 2008, officials said. Police were still not sure Friday who owned the animal. McNeal told officers it did not belong to him, but others at the park said it did.

ST. PETERSBURG — An officer shot and killed a German shepherd Thursday night while trying to detain a man near Williams Park, the St. Petersburg Police Department reported.

About 8:30 p.m. two officers tried to stop Kenneth McNeal, 21, who had previously been given a trespass warning to stay out of the park, police said.

McNeal was walking the German shepherd for a friend, and when officers tried to detain him he ignored their demands, police said. McNeal tried to cross the road near Fourth Street and Second Avenue N. Officers grabbed at him and McNeal released his hold of the leash.

Once free, the dog turned and tried to bite one of the officers, police said.

An officer fired several shots and killed the dog.

McNeal was arrested and charged with trespassing and resisting arrest with violence.

As with any shooting, internal affairs is investigating.

St. Petersburg police have come under public scrutiny before for dog shootings. In 2011, officers killed at least seven dogs, prompting then-Chief Chuck Harmon to make some policy changes.

St. Petersburg officer shoots and kills German shepherd near Williams Park 01/09/14 [Last modified: Friday, January 10, 2014 10:20am]
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