Escambia County deputies shoot family dogs after entering home without warrant

August 7, 2013

According to an August 7 report by WTSP, Escambia County police officers entered a Warrington, Florida home on August 2 and shot the two family dogs.

At least half a dozen Escambia police department officers responded to a call at the Flynn Drive residence of Cristina Moses and her fiancé Travis Nicholas because of an incident earlier in the evening.

A man had gotten into a fight with his girlfriend and her father. Wayde Morris had come at the man and his daughter with a machete and a bat. He was arrested on aggravated assault and remains at the Escambia County jail on $10,000 bond.

During the argument, a man in a gray tank top whom witnesses identified as”Travis” came by and began waving a gun saying

“I will splatter your brains on the sidewalk.”

Later that night, at around 10:30 pm, Escambia County officers had followed the trail to the residence. After officers failed to get Cristina and Travis to the door at their Flynn Drive residence, one of the officers saw a bucket under a window while checking the perimeter of the home.

This is how the police decided to use it to gain entry to the home. Police feared the family was in danger and needed to locate the suspect before “Travis” put the family in danger.

According to the sheriff’s news release

“Upon encountering the people in the house, the dogs became aggressive. One dog bit at one of the deputy’s 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.”

Gracie, a 13-month old pit bull, had to be euthanized on Monday. A three-year-old bulldog mix named Rocky is recovering at home.

As for Travis being the person witnesses saw, he denies having a gun or being at the scene. The couple tell of how police entered their home and how they were awakened to find six armed officers with flashlights standing over them.

Travis was in his boxer shorts, so it was clear he wasn’t armed. Police allegedly threw the couple to the ground, where they handcuffed Travis. Then police put their boots on the couples backs and arms.

Travis could see into the bedroom, where he watched officers shooting at the dogs from across the bed. At least five shots were fired inside the home. The couple was then taken outside and placed on the curb.

Cristina was put in the back of a police car for over an hour because she “wouldn’t shut up.” When interviewed by WTSP, Cristina said

“All I did was keep asking if they could tell me what happened to my dogs. All they said was ‘We’ll take care of that later.'”

Travis suffered a hand injury during the incident, and paramedics came to their home to treat it.

Police then took both dogs to the vet.

Under the law, officers can enter a house without a search warrant, or under so-called exigent circumstances, only if they think people are in imminent danger, evidence faces immediate destruction or a suspect will escape.

The incident is under investigation by the Escambia County Sheriffs Department and no further details have been made available. As of today, neither Cristina nor Travis have been arrested for any crime.

 

 

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