Commentary

Dog death description only brings more questions

 

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Jason Mellerstig outside his truck seconds after the shooting/David Brailey photo

                            News analysis

Anchorage dog shooter Jason Mellerstig has now given a partial account of the events leading up to the killing of a neighbor’s Labrador retriever in her yard in an upscale city neighborhood last week.

The account is largely contradicted by an eyewitness to the immediate aftermath.

But first Mellerstig’s explanation to how the shooting near Campbell Lake took place as told to a reporter for the Alaska Dispatch News on Tuesday:

“As Mellerstig prepared to load his 3-year-old son into a car seat on the passenger side (of his truck) shortly before 3 p.m., he said Skhoop ran down the lawn toward them.

“‘This dog came tearing down the yard at a full rate of charge — teeth bared, lips snarling,’ Mellerstig said. ‘In that three-second span, I had a half-second in which to make a decision to guard my son’s life; I made a decision to guard my son.’

“Mellerstig said he tried yelling at the dog, but when that didn’t work, he drew the handgun he was carrying, a 9 mm Glock pistol with a 10-round magazine.

“I had to make a split-second decision,’ Mellerstig said. ‘I yelled, ‘Stop!,’ the dog didn’t stop — I shot to stop the threat.'”

This account raises more questions than it answers. Among them:

  • Does Mellerstig, a pilot for a small regional airline in Alaska, always carry a handgun?
  • If not, why did he decide to strap one on before taking his son to school?
  • Did he see the dog in his neighbor’s yard?
  • If so, why didn’t he get into his truck through the roadside door instead of walking into the yard to use the passenger side door?
  • Where exactly was the three year old when the dog came across the lawn?
  • And what exactly does “preparing to load” the child mean?
  • Was the boy already in the car seat, in Mellerstig’s arms or at Mellerstig’s side when the man decided to draw his gun?

Mellerstig  may have good answers to all these questions, but he did not respond to craigmedred.news when he was contacted on his Facebook page before it was taken down. He has not responded to an email. And a phone he once used rings but does not answer.

Contradictory testimony

Were the gaps in Mellerstig’s story as told to a newspaper scribe not enough, there is a bigger problem. An eyewitness to the aftermath of the shooting puts Mellerstig in the road on the driver’s side of his truck near the rear taillight as a fusilade of shots came to an end. Mellerstig’s son was at that time said to be standing next to the driver’s side door.

The witness, a commercial pilot who has just completed his flight physical and reported his vision at 20-15, asked that his name not be used because his wife is terrified. But he said he has given the Anchorage Police Department a detailed statement, and he agreed to talk about what he saw.

He was in his garage up the street about 200 feet from the shooting when he heard the shots start. Prior to that, he heard no shouting as Mellerstig has claimed. The witness said he exited his garage as the shooting started and was in a position to have a clear view of the street within three to five seconds.

“I heard bark, bark, bark. Bang, bang, bag,” he said. “All I witnessed was the aftermath. I saw Dave (Brailey) running down the yard. I saw the guy in the street. He was near the left tail light (driver’s side) of the truck. The child was near the driver’s door. And he had the gun pointed down at the curb.”

The witness could not see the dog. He said his view of that was blocked. He could, he said, see that Mellerstig was wearing a hip holster and had a goattee. The witness watched Mellerstig holster the gun. He said he later read Mellerstig’s account of what happened in the ADN.

“Absolute bullshit” was how he described the report.

After the shooting, the witness said Mellerstig walked forward along the driver’s side of the truck, picked up his son, went around the front of the truck to the passenger side of the vehicle, loaded the child and drove away.

“The kid wasn’t crying,” the witness said. “He wasn’t upset.”

Mellerstig told KTVA.com that after the mid-afternoon shooting he had to leave to take his three-year-old to school. But when Mellerstig returned 20 minutes later, the neighbor who was now watching what was happening through binoculars, noticed Mellerstig’s son was still with him.

Little of what Mellerstig told the newspaper seemed to make any sense, the man said:

“It sounds like he’s just sort of trying to cover his ass. I told the police what I saw.”

Shooting fast-moving targets

The issue of how this shooting went down only gets more complicated beyond the questions as to how it began and the observations of the neighbor as to where Mellerstig was located when the shooting ended.

The distance from the home of  Skhoop’s owners to the street on which the shooting took place is less than 50 feet. A Labrador going full speed can easily hit 20 mph. Petworld.in claims 30 mph, but to be conservative this story will stick with 20.

A dog at “full charge,”  a speed somewhere near 20 mph, would cover 29.33 feet per second. By that calculation, if it started at a dead run from the Brailey home, it would be off the Brailey property and well into the street in two seconds. But the police report says the dog was shot and killed on the Brailey property.

Given Mellerstig’s 3-second timeline for the shooting, either things were happening significantly faster than Mellerstig thought, the dog wasn’t in “full charge, ”  or it was already starting to brake to a halt at the property line.

Another neighbor of Brailey’s who regularly walked her dog past the Brailey house said it wasn’t unusual for Skhoop to rush her invisible fence and then stop.The neighbor added that when Skhoop did this she could appear threatening. This would dovetail with Mellerstig’s statement that the dog was coming with “teeth bared, lips snarling.”

The danger of a dog with “teeth bared, lips snarling” is not to be underestimated. If the dog is close, it can lash out and hurt someone in a flash. These lunging attacks usually happen very fast at close range as in this video of a dog attack on a policeman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwoOvVah_oc

It would be hard to fault Mellerstig opening fire in such a situation, but this is not the sort of attack he describes. He describes shooting a charging animal, which is no easy task.  Fast-moving animals, even grizzly bears six- to eight-times the size of Skhoop, are hard to hit when charging, and Mellerstig said he’d never shot at any animals — just targets.

(Full disclosure: The author once missed a charging grizzly bear with a handgun at a distance of 6- to 8-feet, owns a Labrador retriever and has owned many before, has killed just about every animal that can be legally killed in the state of Alaska, and has no reservations about shooting anything or anybody (sadly) in a true self-defense situation.)

If Mellerstig hit a dog running at full speed, it was a good piece of shooting. If he did it while surprised in the act of trying to get a three-year-old  into a car seat, it was one hell of a piece of shooting. And if Mellerstig was trapped between  the side of a truck and a dog he thought was going to tear him apart,  as he claims, it’s a justified shooting.

But how then did he get from the passenger side door of the truck to near the left rear tail light on the driver’s side in time to be seen with the gun pointing down at the curb before he holstered it? as the witness observed.

There are  many “ifs” in Mellerstig’s story, and Brailey raised more in an interview today. Brailey charged that the story Mellerstig told the ADN was concoted after the fact. Brailey pointed to his photograph showing Brailey outside the door of his pickup just after the shoooting and asked, “Where’s the dog?”

A whole different version of events

Skhoop is clearly not visible in the photo of Mellerstig next to the passenger door. That is because the dog was shot 6 to 8 feet behind the truck, according to Brailey, who added that “I didn’t have the heart to take a picture of my dead dog” but that Anchorage Police do have photos. The position of the dog as described by Brailey jives with the account of the eye-witness.

Brailey also said the police report, which said the dog died in Brailey’s yard, is wrong. This  somewhat contradicts Brailey’s earlier statement to craigmedred.news saying the dog died in the yard. Brailey said today that Skhoop died with her head on the curb.

The position of the dog, however, also contradicts Mellerstig’s story. If he shot an attacking Skhoop while at the passenger side door of the truck “preparing to load his 3-year-old son into a car seat,” as he told the ADN, the dead dog would have needed to slide or crawl under the truck to end up with its head on the curb or the street. Brailey’s photo taken just after the shooting clearly shows Mellerstig’s truck parked with the passenger side tires on the Brailey lawn.

If Mellerstig was at the passenger door of the truck when he shot Skhoop, the position of the dog’s carcasss would indicate it was trying to run around the truck, not attack Mellerstig, at the time.

Brailey has his own explanation for how Skhoop ended up dead at the edge of a quiet neighborhood street. He believes she was lured to the limit of the invisible fence surrounding her yard and executed.

Brailey was home at the time of the shooting and rushed around his house into the front yard as the shooting started. The photo of Mellerstig was, Brailey said, taken no more than 10 seconds after the shooting. Brailey doesn’t remember seeing a child anywhere, but the child might have been buckled into his seat before the admittedly shaken homeowner decided he should take a photo.

Brailey believes Mellerstig left the scene of the shooting in his truck after the photo was taken and before police arrived so he could later make the claim he was outside the passenger door  loading his son when the incident started.

“He’s lying,” Brailey said. “He’s totally lying.”

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A Dave Brailey sketch of where he, Skhoop and the truck were when shooting started

The fog of war

Witnesses often see things differently even if they don’t have personal interests to protect, and all too often get things wrong in situations where adrenaline is flowing. Sorting out who is telling the truth and who isn’t can be extremely difficult, and sometimes stories vary because everyone is telling the truth as best they can remember it.

All of which could make the events leading up to this shooting almost as important as the shooting itself.

The Braileys said Skhoop was out in the yard earlier in the day and barking so much at the commotion across the street — the Mellerstig’s were still moving in, across and one house down — that they brought the dog inside for time.

Did Mellerstig not notice the barking dog across the street? Did he assume it was still in the house as it had been earlier in the day and innocently head for his truck?

Or did he expect the dog to be there and head for his truck armed and intending to confront Skhoop?

Much of this story makes little sense, including Mellerstig’s description of what can only be fairly summarized as a “vicious dog.” Others agree Skhoop would bark and appear aggressive but everyone seems to agree it was a normal, territorial display, and she stayed in the yard. Here’s how Tasha Bergt, a neighbor of the Braileys and a well-known Alaska skier and runner described the dog in a comment on this website:

“I think evidence over many years of peaceful neighborhood living should carry some weight. (Another neighbor) reflected on Skhoop being a great neighbor dog for her whole life. We knew Skhoop well. She was a really good dog. This is all so unbelievable.”

Of the dozens of people, if not hundreds by now, who have commented on this and other websites, none has described an incident in which Skhoop charged through the invisible fence that trained her to stay in the yard.

“In the countless times I’ve walked by the dog, she’d always either stayed where she was and watched us walk by or charged at full speed, barking and snarling,” neighbor Sonya Fisher said in an email. “I’m sure I was nervous the first time I experienced that even though from my experience handling dogs I could tell it was a territorial display.”

Yes, Skhoop had been designated a Class I dog by animal control a year ago and was supposed to be kept in the yard. But the Class I tag can get hung on almost any dog that gets loose and barks at someone who tries to catch it. And the invisible fence at the Brailey’s apparently did work to keep Skhoop contained.

None of which is meant to suggest Labrador retrievers are benign.. They do bite people. There is no doubt about that. They are reported to have seriously injured 56 people and killed three over the past 32 years.

Still, Labs are the most popular breed of dog in the country mainly because they are so friendly. They are almost everywhere, and those 56 serious injuries would amount to less than two per year nationwide.

It is safe to say the risk of a Lab attack is pretty low, but maybe Mellerstig — who appears adamant in his belief he was shooting in self-defense — didn’t know this. Maybe he doesn’t know how to tell a Labrador from some of the thinner haired Alaska huskies one sees these days.

The world is a place where perceptions sometimes matter as much as reality. Where one person sees a goofy barking dog that just can’t shut up, another sees a threat.

We will likely never know for sure what happened in this case other than that there was an encounter and someone’s beloved dog died. But the one thing the incident ought to make everyone think about is the responsibility of gun ownership.

Once the bullets hit flesh, it’s hard to put things back together again. Mellerstig says he would like to make up with the neighbor whose dog he killed, but it is hard to imagine that happening at this point. It’s unclear if Mellerstig can even make up with a neighborhood reeling at the idea of someone opening up among the houses with a semi-automatic handgun.

And yet, in some ways, sad and angry as many people are about this shooting, we should probably all take solace in the fact Skhoop was a dog.

A guy named George Zimmerman thought he was doing the right thing in self-defense when he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012. Martin, a young African-American, died. Zimmerman was tried for murder and acquitted, but his life has been a train wreck since. Martins’ family was left crushed. The acquittal further split a nation already struggling with race relations and the right to bear arms.

The act of killing anybody or anything in the belief of self-defense is not something to be taken lightly. It’s likely Mellerstig would be a happier man today if he’d kept his 9mm Glock holstered, loaded his son into the truck from the roadside safely away from Skhoop,  and driven off.  Just as it’s certain Zimmerman life would be better if he’d just walked away.

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26 replies »

  1. Just to keep accuracy at the forefront, per every bit of evidence at trial, including the prosecution’s, at the time Zimmerman used deadly force he was pinned and being beaten. The physical evidence supported his account of being attacked by Martin from ambush as he was returning to his truck. For good or ill he had no chance to “walk away” from the actual confrontation.

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    • I agree, Mr. Carberry, accuracy is important.
      Per evidence at trial, Zimmerman was told by the police to stay in his car, yet he chose to get out of his car and advance on Martin, who was walking home to his little brother. If I saw a thug carrying a gun approaching me, who did NOT identify themself as law enforcement or even neighborhood watch (per evidence at trial), then I’d like to think I would try to defend myself, and prevent the weirdo from following me home to my little brother.

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  2. It’s doubtful the shooter will be charged with anything. Based on the information presented in several accounts that I have read thus far, including this story, the fear of imminent grave danger to he or his child was reasonable, making the discharge of the firearm quite lawful.

    I have a cocker spaniel. She barks and will approach people with the hair on the back of her neck standing, but she won’t bite. Having reviewed the literature for “invisible fences”, I choose to keep her either inside, within the confines of my privacy fenced yard, or on a leash.

    If she ever got out and charged a person with their child on or near the public right of way on my property, I couldn’t blame them for shooting her. I might even shoot her myself.

    Robert Frost had it right. Good fences make good neighbors.

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  3. This is what I suspect really happened:

    Right after parking the truck, the dog acted aggressively toward Mellerstig, but didn’t attack. Mellerstig worried about his young child living near a neighbor’s apparently unleashed and unfenced, aggressive dog. The dog’s barking continued to keep this on his mind, and he was very annoyed that he’d have to deal with a barking dog day-in, day-out. So, he decided to bring a gun when he returned to his truck and kill the dog if it ever charged him again. It did, so he did. I think this because he doesn’t look at all fazed to me in the photo taken immediately after the shooting…I think he had somewhat expected this to happen beforehand and had his gun ready to draw, just in case.

    Mellerstig approached the truck on the driver’s side. When the dog barked, he told his kid to wait next to the truck (near the driver’s door), and he lured the approaching dog away from the kid and toward the back of the truck, drawing his gun. When he reached the back of the truck, the dog was running to meet him, but slowing to avoid crossing the fence (which Mellerstig didn’t know about). The dog braking made it less of a moving target and easier to hit from a few feet away. Even if Mellerstig saw the dog stopping short of him, he had already decided to shoot and would have been shooting before he had a chance to think through that the dog wasn’t really an imminent threat. However, Mellerstig preferred the dog dead, so he didn’t really care whether it was an imminent threat, anyway. In fact, I suspect that the prior confrontation with this same dog led him to believe that the dog was either not going to attack or would be shot dead before it could, which is part of why he didn’t miss when shooting at the dog…he was calm (other than being on alert) and not afraid.

    When Brailey heard the barks, shots, and then no more barking, he rushed over. Brailey, of course, was extremely upset. Mellerstig left to avoid further argument. Mellerstig later decided it looked bad to leave, so he returned, after settling on a story for why he was ‘forced’ to shoot the dog.

    Even if this is all true, I doubt Mellerstig would be prosecuted for anything. There certainly was a more neighborly (and humane) way of dealing with the situation, though.

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    • yes, bill, if it had been a bear this would have been a whole different discussion. if this had been a bear, i wouldn’t be asking questions; i’d be defending the guy because it’s a whole different set of circumstances. bears (sad to say this and i’m sure i’ll take heat) are easily and readily expendable in this state. not so for dogs or any other pets (or animals) on the property of their owner. you can’t start popping animals in your neighbor’s yard as if they were bears. you have to restrain yourself and report to animal control the neighbor’s dog (or these days roster) that wakes everyone at 5 a.m. every day with its incessant noise no matter how cleanly, easily and safely you could remove the nuisance with your sniper rifle.

      Liked by 1 person

    • If it had been a bear it probably would have been a bluff charge, as bears are wont to do, and we’d have a wounded bear running around town because of a trigger happy idiot.

      You can’t go spraying bullets at any bear or wild animal that approaches you either. Alaska’s history is full of people with wilderness sense who will do and have done just about anything to avoid having to shoot a bear. Perhaps you could learn from some of them.

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  4. Good reporting, Craig.

    I’m pretty convinced this guy purposefully set up the situation so he could shoot the dog. People tell me he was a member of the “I hate dogs” Facebook group. He’s probably been gagging to shoot his gun for years. Maybe this wasn’t even the first time he’s done something like this. Hell, maybe he brought his toddler out there to have an excuse to mow down the dog. Ech. This guy is a nasty piece of work.

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  5. Does look like the child is already in the truck over on the drivers side. My kids don’t call over to the drivers side that fast as if he just put him (?) in on the passenger side like he said. Don’t know all the facts but somewhere in between the stories is the truth. It’s sad all the way around.

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    • well, there is a time lag between what the witness saw and that photo. the witness has Mellerstig coming back around the driver’s side, grabbing the kid, going around the front of the truck and putting the kid in the passenger side seat. given that the witness observations start with Brailey still running across the yard, Mellerstig might well be loading the kid about the time Brailey gets to the dog or shortly thereafter because Brailey doesn’t remember seeing a kid at all. he’s obviously pre-ocuppied with his dead dog. he thinks he took the photo 10 seconds after he got to the dog, but it could easily have been 15 or 20. either way, if he arrives at the dog about the time the kids is put in the car…? my three-year-old could have made it across the seat in 10 seconds. hell, the way she behaved she could have been trying to start the car and steal it within 10 seconds. the truth is somewhere. but as in all these damn things it’s hard to find.

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    • not much. illegal discharge of a weapon in the city is about it. there’s potential malicious destruction of property charge, but the value of the dog is such (dogs are considered property under the law) that the charge wouldn’t amount to much. a Law and Order style DA could take a run at reckless endangerment for spraying bullets around the neighborhood, but that’s a pretty thin case. the yard slopes up behind the shooting like a backstop and he was aiming down at the dog.

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    • Here’s what I found on http://www.muni.org/Departments/police/HowDoI/Pages/FIREARMS.aspx:

      Q. What are the laws concerning use of firearms within the city limits? In particular firing the firearm in or around an apartment complex?

      A. Under Municipal Ordinance 8.25.030 Discharge of Firearms (A). It is unlawful for any person to knowingly: (1). shoot, discharge or flourish any firearm, air rifle or air pistol within the Municipality of Anchorage except in those areas open to the public for lawful hunting or upon established shooting ranges. It might also violate State Statutes to include: 11.41.220(a) Assault in the Second Degree; 11.41.250(a) Reckless Endangerment; 11.61.190-220 Misconduct Involving Weapons. Bottom line is it is illegal to discharge a firearm in the vicinity of an apartment complex, someone could be injured.

      Like Craig says, on what he actually gets, it probably depends on how badly they want to go after him. I think he’s a wuss if he thought he needed a gun to stop a dog. I used to read meters, going into backyards without knowing whether there was a dog or not (since I was a ‘sub’, I rarely repeated routes and only occasionally knew in advance if there was a dog). What worked even better than pepper spray (which didn’t seem to often work–it just pissed off the dog), was a tennis ball on the end of a 3-4 foot stick (no, you didn’t hit them, they just stayed away). Or he could’ve just jumped in the car and closed the door.

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      • The Muni site neglects there is a self-defense exception to both Muni Code and State statute for restrictions on firing weapons in city limits and the various weapons offenses. If the use of force is legally justified it is neither assault nor reckless, thus no crime is involved.

        So, what charges he might face hinge on the self-defense claim.

        For that matter, the Muni site also misstates State law on posting property. Municipal governments cannot restrict carry beyond the listed restrictions in State statute due to pre-emption, and in any event the remaining signage statute provides enforcement “only as provided by law.” What they elide is there -is- no remaining weapons violation in Statute for ignoring a sign. A carrier, if discovered, has committed no crime until they have been asked to leave and refused. At that point they can be misdemeanor trespassed the same as anyone else under general property rights, no weapons violation involved. Thus the weasel-wording about “legal advice,” APD would apparently rather imply a restriction than get an opinion from their own legal people, or the state AG, and actually lose it.

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  6. If you enlarge the photograph, you can see the child’s head where he is sitting in the DRIVER’S seat of the truck. This would back up the eyewitness account of the child and Mellerstig being on the drivers side of the pickup and loading the child on the drivers side, not the passenger side. I sure hope APD and the prosecutor see this.

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  7. Mr. Mellerstig chose 1) to park his truck where he did, i.e. in the dog’s territory (dogs don’t understand the invisible line that separates private property from road ROWs), 2) to take his son to the truck rather than bringing the vehicle across the street to his new residence, 3) to opt out of visiting his new neighbor to talk about a dog that was probably annoying him, and then 4) to arm himself with a readily-accessible weapon.

    This is a person who has been moving into his house, practically across the street from where the dog lived, for several fair weather days in a row. Previously, Mellerstig surely visited the house he was buying several times. So, if the dog was out in her yard a lot on nice days and tended to bark, Mellerstig had surely observed this on numerous occasions. He also surely knew that the dog never ran out into or across the street, no matter how agitated all the move-on commotion caused her to be.

    I see a guy who was under stress from a big move and new job, and who was annoyed by a noisy dog. He probably made comments about the situation to other family members and to the movers. Finally, fed up with the barking, he decides to “do something about it” by provoking the dog to the point where he thinks he can get away with killing her.

    What kind of father intentionally exposes his young son to a situation like this?

    Mellerstig is either a narcissist or a sociopath. And there’s something weird about his employment history. Normal people with degrees from Brown and Oxford don’t suddenly get type rated in Saab puddle-jumpers and take jobs that pay FOs less than 50k/year. And those that do don’t live in million dollar lake-front homes. I see a guy who is smart enough, but who cannot stick with a career for any length of time. Whose California plastic surgeon dad keeps bailing him out as he constantly reinvents himself. Certainly the kind of entitled behavior he displayed last week is consistent with this.

    May he leave AK before he “justifiably” shoots someone on a trail, mistaking them for a bear, or before he makes another bad judgment call and crashes a plane with passengers. I’ll be avoiding his airline, which flies in challenging weather and terrain.

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    • well, actually it is. it is an eyewitness to the aftermath as the story stated. given that it takes about a second and a half to pump eight rounds out of Glock at its maximum cyclic rate, this shooting probably took in the neighborhood of two seconds. so we have a witness who went out the into the street and may have been watching within a second of the end of the shooting, maybe even sooner since he sees Brailey still running across the yard. it’s hard to move the pieces on the board out of position in a second. the witness, who has neither a dog or gun in this hunt, puts the child outside the passenger door and Mellerstig at the back of the truck as the shooting ends. Mellerstig is in the street. he has the gun in two hands pointing it at the location where the body of the dead dog was later found. he then lowers the gun and holsters it. these observations, unfortunately, (not to mention the position of the dog) raise serious questions as to his statement that he was on the passenger side of the truck loading the child into the cab when the shooting started. can you finish the shooting on the passenger side of the truck, grab the kid, run around the front of the truck, put the kid down, run to the back of the truck, aim the gun again at the now dead dog (for what reason?), and then start to lower and holster it in a second or two? grab a stopwatch, go find an F-150 pickup and give it a try.

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      • Eyewitness implies witnessing the shots being fired. Later it is refuted, saying he did not observe the shots being fired. GETTING YOUR ASS and the asses of your loved ones out of the way of a threat is pretty high on defensive handgun training agenda, usually DHII. Moving and shooting happens, especially when you’re saving your child’s life. It’s really a shame that the dogs negligent owner was not more vigilant and responsible. Probably the same thing we’d be saying if this father did not protect his child and the dog successfully made contact.

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      • he did not see the shots being fired. he saw the scene immediately after the last shot was fired. the shooter was at that point near the back drivers side of the car with the gun in both hands pointing it at an angle in line with where the dogs body was later found. the witness watched the shooter lower and then holster the gun. the toddler was standing by the drivers side door of the pickup. the shooter walked back to the toddler, picked him up, went around the truck, and put the child in the passenger-side door. the shooter’s story is that he was on the passenger side of the truck “loading” the toddler when the shooting started and that all the shooting took place from that position. if you believe that story, he has to get around the front of the truck, drop the kid, get to the back of the truck, and take aim at the dead dog in the space of a second or two. go try it in the parking lot and get back to me. and then explain why someone would do that rather than just confirming the dog dead and loading the kid. we’re not talking about bear here. it’s a 60 or 70 pound lab. i won’t even get into the problems with the rest of the story. have you ever shot any charging animals? the dog might well be dead because the owner was responsible. the best shot you’re going to get in a situation like this is when the dog starts braking because it’s coming up on that invisible fence.

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      • In response to D above, I am a former police officer. We were trained to back up/retreat until we can no longer back up or retreat, THEN go to a weapon, not to go blasting away immediately while we’re evading. At least that was the training 20 years ago. Civilian “defensive handgun training” is complete nonsense most of the time. Civilians are not cops and they shouldn’t go thinking they are, even if they are former cops.

        If someone is teaching civilian/gun hobbyists that they should be moving/running/evading while shooting, that is negligent teaching. Most people don’t do a good job hitting stationary targets under no pressure. Add running around, adrenaline, overreactivity and bad shooting and that’s an excellent recipe for hurting someone or something with a stray bullet and completely missing the thing you’re actually shooting at.

        All that said, I found it really shocking how many bizarrely intense gun worshippers were inducted into the police force. Genuinely shocking.

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      • Joe,

        By your own admission, your training is twenty years out of date. The methods taught to you were probably derived from Jeff Cooper’s Modern Technique, which is no longer the state of the art.

        Most (good) instructors are teaching folks specifically (a) standing still makes you a stationary target that is much easier to hit (or chew, in this case) and (B) that backing up is a bad idea due to the possibility of tripping over something that you can’t see, or (especially for law enforcement) stepping into oncoming traffic. Training nowadays stresses the importance of moving out of the line of attack at right or oblique angles.

        Your comment regarding the marksmanship skills of “most people” indicate that your department had a much lower standard of performance than wherever Mr. Mellerstig received his training, as the reports thus far indicate every round he discharged hit the dog (while both of them were moving).

        Thank God you’re retired. I wouldn’t want you to show up to a hostage situation.

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  8. I’m curious, is there a toddler approved car seat in his truck? Frequently you can see them from the back…I can’t. Is his child in the car at this point or standing in the road next to the driver door still.

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  9. If the 2nd Amendment is rescinded it will not be because of gangsters and drug dealers raising havoc it will be because of gun-kook psychos like this guy. There are plenty just like him in Anchorage. This guy shot the dog because he’d been waiting for a chance to shoot something. He’s a trigger-happy lawyer and I doubt any charges will be brought against him. I hope Penair has a good psychologist take a look at him before he sits down in the pilot’s seat.

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  10. Bottom line is the guy was armed in an upscale residential area and ready to use a sidearm at a moments notice. Kinda weird, and nobody I would want as a neighbor. Suburban Anchorage is not the “last frontier “. I bet he has really small hands. Surprised he could hold the glock😏😏

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Small hands?” Nice discussion technique. Kinda weird actually, the irrelevant alluding to genitalia. Rational argument serves better than smug ad hom.

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