Hawthorne police shoot, kill dog - caught on camera


Leon Rosby relives his pain as he watches video of his dog's final moments before it was shot by Hawthorne police on Sunday.

"They took a member of my family. They took a member of my family," Rosby said through tears.

Hawthorne police responded to an armed robbery on 137th Street, where a standoff ensued. Investigators said Rosby was interfering by blaring music from his car and walking within close proximity of armed officers. After Rosby put his 2-year-old Rottweiler, Max, in the car, two officers approached Rosby and handcuffed him. Moments later, Max jumped from the car and came to his owner's aid.

"I said, 'No Max. No. Stop.' And then I came out and I said, 'Please don't kill my dog. Please don't kill my dog,'" recalled Rosby. "He's just having convulsions. He's in pain. But he hollered out and tried to look back at me. He tried to look back at me to see if I was OK. I'm a grown man. I'm 52 years old. I never thought I'd get attached to a dog like that."

Hawthorne police wouldn't talk to us on camera. They said they are truly sensitive to the loss of the dog, but officers feared that Max would bite them. The department said it is investigating the incident.

There were many neighbors, including children, who witnessed the shooting.

"I started screaming. Now I'm traumatized. I never saw someone get shot or get killed or see anything get killed like that," said witness Samantha Othieno. "I'm like seriously traumatized because I can't believe they did that."

Rosby said he thinks the Hawthorne Police Department might have it in for him because he sued the department back in March, claiming civil rights violations, false imprisonment and battery stemming from an incident that happened last summer.

"That could've been me. It could've been me laying in the street. They tried to say I was resisting, and my dog knew I wasn't. He died for me because he didn't want me to get killed," said Rosby.

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