Thursday, October 12, 2017
SPRINGFIELD MO - VICTIM TOM BRASHEARS SAYS HE WILL NEVER WALK HIS DOG AGAIN AFTER BEING FORCED TO SHOOT A LOOSE PIT BULL THAT WAS ATTACKING HIS LEASHED PET
Tom Brashears said Thursday he shot a free-running pit bull with his 9mm pistol because the dog had grabbed Brashears' leashed dog, Montana, by the neck. The incident happened Wednesday afternoon at the corner of Brower Street and North Eagle Avenue.
The pit bull was killed. Brashears said he had just come home from work and took Montana, his year-old shelter rescue dog, for his daily walk.
"We get almost to the end of the block and I look up and see these two white PIT BULLS in the yard. I stop. I froze immediately," he recalled. "I was getting ready to turn around and go back the other way when all of a sudden that one gets up, he looks at us, and he starts running full blast for us."
Brashears said the pit bull's owner came running out of his house trying to get the dog, which he said only made the dog run faster. Brashears, holding Montana by his leash, said he pulled his pistol from its holster as the pit bull attacked and grabbed Montana by the neck.
"I was afraid he was going to kill Montana," Brashears said. "I shot him. I don't remember pulling the trigger, but the gun was touching the dog when it happened."
Brashears said he is unsure if he pulled the trigger or the gun went off when the pit bull jerked upward while still latched onto Montana's neck. After the shot, he said, the dog ran 10 or 12 feet and collapsed. A neighbor, on hearing the shot, came out with a handgun and pointed it at Brashears.
Brashears said he has a concealed carry permit and he put the gun on the ground, then called 911 to report the shooting. He said he urged the 911 dispatcher to get police officers to the scene quickly "because there's a guy pointing a gun at me."
Police arrived and confiscated both weapons.
Brashears said he decided to speak out to clarify what happened. He wept after recounting the ordeal.
"The reason why he was shot where he was shot is because he was at my feet. He had ahold of my dog's neck. I didn't have a choice. I'm not a bad guy. I'm not a killer," he added. "I would not have done that to that dog If I had any other way out. Tell them I said I'm sorry. I'm the one that did it. I gotta live with it."
He also had a message for anyone who owns a dog. "No matter what kind of dog you've got, keep them penned or tied up," he said. "This forced me into doing something I would normally not have done."
The News-Leader is still trying to reach the owner of the pit bull. Police spokeswoman Lisa Cox said the case is under review and no citations had been issued. She said police had released the gun back to the neighbor who pointed it at Brashears.
Springfield Municipal Prosecutor Carl Yendes said there is an ordinance against firing a gun in the city limits, but there are exceptions for cases in which the shooting is deemed “proper and necessary.” In determining whether it was proper and necessary to fire a gun in the city, Yendes said prosecutors consider all the evidence available from a police investigation. “It’s case by case,” Yendes said. “We have to look at what happened and why.”
Yendes said he did not know anything about the shooting on Eagle Avenue and could not comment on whether it might fit the criteria to make it legal. Yendes said Thursday he was unaware if police had submitted any evidence to city prosecutors related to that case.
There is also a city ordinance against permitting a dog to run at large.