“You Killed My Best Friend”: Austin Cop Thomas Griffin Shoots Michael Paxton’s Beloved Dog Cisco Responding to 911 Call at Wrong Address
An Texas man is grieving the loss of his beloved dog after the animal was shot dead by a police officer responding to a 911 call at the wrong address.
The New York Daily News and ABC News report that 40-year-old Michael Paxton was confronted by Austin Police officer Thomas Griffin in front of his house last Saturday.
“I don’t understand why, in broad daylight, he pulled a gun on me,” Paxton told ABC News. “I wasn’t running. I wasn’t hiding. I was just saying, ‘I live here.’ I was panicking. I was afraid for my life.”
That’s when Cisco, Paxton’s 50-pound (22.7 kg) 7-year-old Blue Heeler, came running from the backyard where they’d just been playing Frisbee moments earlier.
“I said, ‘Don’t shoot him. Don’t shoot my dog. He won’t bite you,'” Paxton told ABC News. On a dashcam video from Griffin’s cruiser (shown just below), the officer is heard shouting “Get your dog!” But barely a second later, Cisco was shot dead.
“What are you doing? What did you shoot my dog for,” Paxton is heard yelling. “I live here!”
“Oh my God, I can’t believe you just killed my dog… My best friend. You killed my fucking best friend,” he fumes.
Austin Police Cpl. Anthony Hipolito told ABC News that Griffin was responding to a 911 call about a domestic disturbance at Paxton’s neighbor’s home. He also said the dashcam video shows Cisco attacking the officer, an assertion that Paxton denies.
“Officers have to do everything they can to protect themselves, up to and including the use of deadly force,” Hipolito said. “It’s something that we don’t ever want to do. To shoot and kill an animal is very unfortunate and tragic. The officer is distraught and did not want to do it, but at the same time, he had to protect himself.”
Paxton claims Griffin did not apologize to him and that a sergeant arriving on the scene was unsympathetic.
Yesterday, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo called into a local radio show while Paxton was doing an interview and apologized.
“I know the pain’s real. We all love our pets,” Acevedo said on KLBJ’s “Dudley and Bob Morning Show.”
“My heart goes out to him. I think if you ask everybody in the department, believe it or not, we’re animal lovers, just like everybody else,” he said.
Paxton appreciated the gesture.
“To hear that from you, it does mean a lot to me,” he said.
Austin police, who say officers can respond with deadly force against an animal if it “appears to pose an imminent threat” to the officer’s safety, say they will conduct an investigation.
Meanwhile, a Facebook page titled “Justice For Cisco” has received about 77,000 likes as of Wednesday afternoon.
“The only thing that has brought me comfort is the response and outpouring of emotion for him,” Paxton told ABC News. “I’m sure he heard the yelling. He’s a dog. This is his territory. He’s going to be territorial to some extent. To me, it’s pretty typical dog behavior. He’s not a vicious dog. He was a good boy. He was a real good boy.”
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