Waco police released officers’ body camera footage showing the shooting death of a pet dog, Finn, last weekend after officers responding to a 911 call reporting a burglary in progress were dispatched to the wrong address.
At about 3:15 p.m. June 3, Waco police received a 911 call in which the caller reports someone had kicked their door in.
The video police released includes audio from the 911 call. The caller can be heard speaking to someone in the background who says “I’m not trying to hurt you,” before the caller says to the dispatcher, “please come now.”
Address ‘Autocorrected’ to the Next Street
The address reported was in the 3200 block of North 20th A Street, but the video says the address was “autocorrected” to the corresponding address in the 3200 block of North 20th Street, which is one street over, as reported by the Waco Tribune-Herald.
The body camera video from two officers shows them arriving at the address on 20th Street. In the video, officers perform a perimeter check for a breached entrance. They find the back door open, and hop over the backyard fence to approach the door. Text accompanying the video says they had their firearms drawn based on the type of incident they were responding to.
One officer peeks inside the open door, then says “Waco Police Department.” Halfway through speaking, the sound of barking dogs can be heard coming from inside the home, and a few seconds later, five dogs come running outside.
Upon seeing the dogs, the officer farther from the door holsters his pistol and draws a stun gun as he backs up. As the dogs come outside, four of them run toward the officer with the stun gun out, while Finn breaks off and advances toward the officer closer to the door, who still has his pistol drawn.
As Finn comes toward the officer, he is barking and jumps at the officer twice. While backing up, and after commanding Finn to get back, the officer shoots Finn once with his pistol as Finn jumps at him the second time. At roughly the same time, the other officer fires his stun gun and hits one of the other dogs, Hannah.
‘You Shot My Dog?’
Seconds later, Cassandra Page, one of Finn’s owners, comes outside to get the rest of her dogs inside and speak with the officers, who apologize to her. Page appears confused, and asks why the officers are there. They inform her of the 911 call. She is unaware that Finn has been shot.
“We got a call that someone was breaking and entering,” the officer says. “Your door was wide open. It doesn’t look good in our situation. That’s why we’re here.”
The officer then informs Page that he shot Finn.
“The dog charged me, so I shot it,” the officer says.
“You shot my dog?” Page asks. “With a gun?”
Page then runs over to Finn, and screams when she finds him, before helping Finn inside. The officer apologizes for shooting him and informs Page they have called their supervisor.
Three minutes later, the supervisor arrives. One of the officers helps load Finn into Page’s car. The video says she took Finn to an emergency clinic, where he died from the shooting.
Finn’s Owners to Pursue Legal Action
Finn was one of five dogs Page owned with her partner, Matt Vasquez. The couple said they do not have children, and view their pets as their kids. They said they are devastated by the death of Finn, who was the couple’s first dog.
Vasquez said the couple has retained Dallas attorney Bradrick Collins in order to pursue legal action against the department.
“On behalf of the Waco Police Department, we are sorry for the loss of Finn, and are regretful our officers were mistakenly sent to the home. … There is an ongoing internal investigation into how the wrong address was sent to officers,” text included in the video says. “We are working diligently with our (computer aided dispatch) vendor to determine the root cause of the location discrepancy, to ensure this does not happen again. Our call takers have been reminded to be extra cautious when entering addresses for any calls for service.”
“While we cannot change the outcome of this incident, our department is committed to learning from it and making the necessary changes to avoid this situation in the future,” the text in the video says.