ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (CBS Tampa) — An investigation is ongoing into an incident that left two dogs shot by police and has two deputies with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office relegated to administrative duty.
The Pensacola News Journal is reporting that the trouble began Tuesday when the deputies, while investigating an armed disturbance in the area, went to the home of 22-year-old Travis Nicholas and 32-year-old Cristina Moses.
The crime that brought deputies to the area, for which 22-year-old Wayde Morris was arrested, reportedly did not involve Nicholas or Moses. Police insinuated that an open window and a bucket with a footprint led officers to believe that an unlawful entry had taken place.
Six deputies ultimately entered the pair’s home, one of whom shot the two pit bulls living in the residence – one of which had to be euthanized due to the injuries it sustained. The News Journal also learned that the pair was handcuffed by the deputies, who were said to have entered through the window.
On Tuesday, Sheriff David Morgan issued an official report, which claims that the officers were acting in self-defense.
“Upon entering the home, deputies encountered two pit bull dogs that at first did not appear aggressive. Upon encountering the people in the house, the dogs became aggressive,” the statement claims. “One dog bit at one of the deputies’ leg. He pushed the dog away, but it came at him again so he shot the dog in self-defense, at which time, the second dog began to run towards him. For his personal safety, he shot the second dog.”
Officials continue to look into the matter.
“There is both a criminal and an administrative investigation ongoing,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Sena Maddison told the News Journal in an email on Wednesday. “More details will be available pending the conclusion of both the criminal and administrative investigation. But not before that time.”
The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office has been subject to scrutiny recently for the way two of its deputies handled a recent investigation into a burglary. CBS Tampa reported that area resident Roy Middleton was shot by the deputies in his own driveway last month while reaching for a cigarette in his mother’s car.