Houston police are defending the off-duty officer who shot a man during a confrontation over their pet dogs Thursday night.
A witness and the officer involved gave different stories about the events that led to the shooting.
Officer J. Loosmore,told investigators he was off-duty and in plain clothes walking with his wife and three dogs near the 11600 block of Riderwood when a German Shepherd attacked the couple’s dogs.
Officer Loosmore separated the dogs, then went to talk to the German Shepherd’s owner. The officer, wearing his badge around his neck, knocked on the other man’s door, identified himself and tried to get the other guy’s information, investigators said. But the officer said the dog owner became angry.
As Officer Loosmore walked away, he dialed 911 for backup. According to HPD, the other man then rushed the officer and began punching him in the head, face and upper chest.
“(Officer Loosmore) had been struck repeatedly in the head,” Kese Smith, spokesman for Houston Police said. “We know that from the injuries he sustained.
Smith said Loosmore suffered bruising and swelling to his face.
“So, he was being physically assaulted and he says because he was losing consciousness,” Smith said. “That’s why he was afraid that the suspect, whether he had a gun on him or not was irrelevant. The officer had one and the officer knew if he lost consciousness, that suspect would have access to that weapon.
However, a witness, who did not see the initial dog attack, told KHOU 11 News the fight started when the officer charged the man shot. The two men struggled. Then, as the officer pinned the other guy up against a neighbor’s house, that man raised his fist to punch the officer and was shot four times in the chest.
“After he shot the young man, (the officer) said, 'Freeze, don't move!'” Kelechi Brown said. "And he cuffed him. That’s extreme, you know. I thought Houston was doing OK with the police brutality thing that’s going on around America and it seems like HPD just joined the party.
Brown said the man shot is 21-years-old and lives with his mother and two younger siblings. If the man had a gun, investigators did not find it. Neighbors said to their knowledge the guy shot did not own a gun.
The shooting remains under investigation.
Officer Loosmore has been with HPD since 2009 and is assigned to the South Gessner Patrol Division.