HARRIS COUNTY —A Harris County family is devastated over the death of their beloved boxer, which was shot by an off-duty Houston police officer.
Both sides agree that the dog was shot Friday along a walking path in the 14800 block of Cascade Bend Lane near Cypress.
According to the Fitzhenry family, their 4-year-old boxer named Gunner got out of the backyard when the children opened the gate to retrieve a ball.
Gunner approached a neighbor, who was walking his dog with his wife. There are two very different stories about what happened next.
The neighbor, HPD Officer Mark Condon, told investigators the boxer attacked them.
“The dog charged us and attacked me, my wife and one of our dogs,” Condon said in a statement released late Monday afternoon.
Dalton Fitzhenry, 12, said his dog was not threatening the officer and only wanted to play.
“All he was doing was, like, smelling the dog like he always does,” Dalton said.
Condon fired once, striking Gunner in the neck.
“He just pulled it out, like, point-blank range and shot,” said Dalton. “Gunner didn’t have the chance to run.”
Gunner died on the way to the animal emergency clinic.
Dalton’s parents said the dog was like a member of the family.
“And he was screaming and crying, and the cop just had the gun in his hand saying, ‘It’s OK, I’m a cop,’” Kim Fitzhenry said.
“I lost what to them was like their oldest brother,” said Kevin Fitzhenry. “And they lost him in front of them.”
Condon said he, his wife and their dog suffered injuries, which were documented by the Precinct 4 Constable’s Office.
“I have owned dogs and have been an animal lover my entire life. The last thing I would ever want to do is hurt an animal, especially someone’s pet,” Condon said in a statement.
The Fitzhenry family plans to lodge a formal complaint with HPD.
Neighbors on Cascade Bend Lane said their kids and pets often play in the front yards. Fidel Castillo was reigning in Bella, his playful Doberman saying, “That was Bella’s best friend.”
Castillo was referring to Gunner, who lived just two doors down at the Fitzhenry home.
“I’ve been out here many times with my 2-year-old and Gunner would just come out and play with us, lick us,” Otalia Castillo, Fidel’s wife, said.
Several families said Gunner was friendly and some helped draw pictures of the boxer with wings and a halo.
“He’s just a big baby. He was just a big baby,” Fidel Castillo said.