Man mourns dog shot, killed by police officer responding to burglar alarm
by Lindsay Field
September 19, 2012 12:05 AM | 12269 views | 88 88 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Robby King buried his beloved chocolate lab Luke on Sunday night after the dog was shot and killed by a Cobb Police officer responding to a burglar alarm at King’s home. The officer said in his report that Luke became aggressive and charged, but King says he wasn’t an aggressive dog and wouldn’t bite anyone. 
<br>Staff/Todd Hull
Robby King buried his beloved chocolate lab Luke on Sunday night after the dog was shot and killed by a Cobb Police officer responding to a burglar alarm at King’s home. The officer said in his report that Luke became aggressive and charged, but King says he wasn’t an aggressive dog and wouldn’t bite anyone.
Staff/Todd Hull
slideshow
SMYRNA — The owner of a 6-year-old chocolate lab named Luke that was shot and killed by a Cobb County Police officer Sunday said the only thing he’s asking for is a public apology by the officer and department.

“I don’t want anything else out of this,” said Robby King of Smyrna. “This is life changing for me. Luke was such a big part of my life and I didn’t realize what all I did with him until now.”

When contacted for an interview, a spokesman for the Cobb Police Department said he could not comment about specifics in the incident report but added that the two officers involved “followed proper protocol and were not in violation of Cobb County policy and procedures.”

Just after 3 p.m. on Sunday, 45-year-old King triggered his house alarm when rushing into his house on Davis Road in Smyrna just south of Lockheed Martin to get ready to go visit his daughter and newborn grandson.

“I called two places about five times trying to get the alarm turned off,” King said. “I just didn’t have that password.”

In the meantime, Cobb Police were called to the scene in response to a house alarm sounding.

According to the report, two officers with the department, J.P. Gibson and G. M. Roach, responded to King’s home alarm going off.

Roach’s report states, “(911) advised that the alarm activation was coming from the back door and hall motion. Once on scene, I went to the back yard of (King’s residence) and noticed the patio porch door was fully open. I turned the back door knob and the door opened. I immediately closed the door back and notified Cobb Dispatch that I had an unsecured back door with no signs of forced entry.”

The report states that Roach then waited for an officer to get there for backup.

“I opened the back door and announced loudly ‘Cobb County Police!’ No one answered from within the residence and a large brown dog, which appeared to be 100 pounds plus, appeared from the right side of the door,” the report continues. “The dog began barking aggressively and started charging toward me.”

Roach states that he did not try to close the back door because it would have put him in an “immediate risk of danger from the unknown that was inside the residence.”

Gibson reportedly radioed dispatch notifying them of a “vicious animal.”

“While quickly retreating out of the patio, the large brown dog continued to charge toward me in an aggressive manner while continuously barking at me as he advanced on me,” Roach’s report states. “The large dog closed the distance between me and him in less than three seconds. I fired one round at the large dog and it continued charging me in an aggressive manner as if the dog’s main focus was attacking and harming me. I fired one more round at the large dog and it immediately collapsed falling to its left side in the grass.”

Gibson’s report states, “A dog began to bark and came at Officer Roach. Officer Roach shot the dog.”

However, King said he never heard the officers announce themselves, nor did he understand why they came to the back door of the home.

“I was (in my den) and I heard Luke bark and I said, ‘Luke come,’ as I was headed through the house and when I got into the kitchen. It all happened so fast and as soon as I said, ‘Luke come,’ I heard a pop, pop and as I was headed out the door, I said, ‘Oh God, please don’t shoot my dog,’” King said. “And Luke was laying there, gasping for air.”

In reference to the officer announcing himself, King said it is a “blatant lie!”

“I was standing right there,” he said. “When I heard (Luke) bark I headed (to the back) because I figured they had come around to the back door.”

King said Luke was a big dog with a “booming voice” but he didn’t recall his dog’s bark sounding aggressive right before the officer shot him.

“He’s done that to everybody who’s ever come to the door and if the officer had just stopped, Luke would have gone up to him and just sniffed him and probably would have gone and gotten a ball to fetch,” he said. “I know the (officer) didn’t know that but my point is, that he didn’t have to shoot my dog. He could have shot up in the air, mased him, kicked him, whatever he wanted to do, he wouldn’t have bit him.”

King also said that a portion of the police report that states someone had been bitten by Luke before was wrong.

In the report, it states that Cheryl Truelove told an investigator, “’That dog has bit me in the past,’ as she pointed to her left calf.”

When contacted about the statement, Truelove, who is King’s younger sister who lives next door to him, confirmed that the report was incorrect.

“I told the detective that three weeks ago I was dog bit by a Chihuahua,” she said over the phone Tuesday. “The reason I said that was because I was trying to point out to them that this little dog bit me and Luke never even bit nobody and I didn’t take out a gun and shoot this dog.”

Officer Mike Bowman with Cobb Police said he couldn’t speak about a possible incorrect portion of the report but in response to the entire incident, he said, “The officers involved followed proper protocol and were not in violation of Cobb County policy and procedures.”

He also said that the officer did announce himself because it is “standard operating procedure” for his department and that the reason Roach and Gibson entered the home from the back door is for officer’s safety.

“We are looking all around and we don’t want to be in a fatal funnel when we walk up to the front door so we approach from an angle … very good officer safety,” he said.

Bowman declined to say how long Roach had been on the force but said he is a “veteran officer.”

With the help of a friend, King buried Luke near the garden in his backyard late Sunday night.

“I haven’t been able to stop crying,” he said. “This was the hardest thing I ever had to do.”

King said he saved Luke, whose full name was Cool Hand Luke after the movie that starred the late Paul Newman, from an animal shelter in Eatonton when he was about six months old.

“He was the smartest, most gentle dog ever. He was my baby,” he said.

In an attempt to honor Luke, King has created a Facebook page, “RIP Baby Luke,” and posted the story on the Georgia Outdoors News website.
Comments
(88)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
mikemullens
|
September 25, 2012
all of you pet lovers are total idiots. these men and women who risk their lives to protect and serve you ungrateful fools need to get a d@mn clue and just try to even imagine what these people go through day and night. i love pets just as much as the next person, but this officer did what he was trained to do, at all costs. what would all of you hypocrites have done?? mr. king should have known better than to think his "innocent" pet would not have charged after a stranger in his property. again, the officer was doing his job.... trying to protect the stupid homeowner AND the stupid dog.
ZeusBuckus
|
October 08, 2012
Seriously, you must not have a heart or a brain. I agree people come first, but how would that cop feel if someone entered his house that way. You don't just shoot first ask questions later. Lastly, he didn't have to shoot him to kill, its not like the dog was armed.
charles rogers
|
November 05, 2012
Chris Miller wasn´t a pet and she was murdered by police. Does that make me an idiot for coming forward against the police? Its pretty sad to see idiots call other people idiots. Try looking in the mirror and see who is the fairest idiot of them all.
charles rogers
|
November 05, 2012
Yep the same department that murdered two of my friends can justify killing dogs. Very well said. If they kill me like they are lining up to do I guess I get what I deserved for being a witness against the police huh!
charles rogers
|
November 05, 2012
Oh yeah protecting the dog by leaving the door open so he could shoot it. If this is your idead of protection I will prefer some other type of agency thank you.
No threat
|
September 23, 2012
If the dog had a gun or a knife it should been shot. If not, this dog was no lethal threat to the policeman. The cop should be fired and the county should compensate the owner for the loss of his pet.
Retiree4
|
September 27, 2012
My house alarm went off when a Christmas tree ornament moved when the air came on. My alarm went off, police came, did "something" to my dog. My perfectly sweet Border Collie was shaking and trembling, hiding in the back corner of the yard under a bush. Cancelled my alarm company, because I couldn't trust the Cobb police to make appropriate decisions about my dog.Protocol is on over-kill, in my opinion.
too much bad press
|
September 20, 2012
The Cobb County PD always seems to find itself in the news...and for all the wrong reasons.

I'm wondering if there is any ethics training required of this group. Perform a Google news search of CCPD and note all the scandals of recent years.

Frankly, I think it's time for a house cleaning. The department lacks the professionalism that one would expect from a more functional organization.

And perhaps we should recruit officers that don't panic and start shooting when a dog barks at them.
West Cobb Farmer
|
September 21, 2012
It's more than ethics training... they need "common sense" training. We read too many stories where the police confront a barking dog (that is defending its territory) and they shoot and kill. More alarming is the stories we read where the police are called out because someone is acting erratic and they shoot and kill because the person showed and knife or something (I'm thinking of the case up in Cherokee county where a teenager was killed by police because he was acting erratic.) This tells me that the police are prepared to shoot and kill and not prepared to use "common sense" and diffuse the situation. The police have fallen into this trap where they're urban soldiers, tactical responders, SWAT specialists etc. They dress the part and they act the part because they are trained and directed to dress and act the part. Obviously there is a place for SWAT specialists but there is larger need for the traditional police officer that use his/her experience and common sense before they fire.
charles rogers
|
November 05, 2012
Yeah they always have some sort of excuse to cover for their officers when they are in the wrong. I still can´t wait to get in front of ANY jury to find out their excuse for not arresting officers Mike Archer and David Dunkerton for the 1991 murder of Chris Miller whose remains were found off of Scufflegrit Road in June 1993. Four of us witnesses saw them with her now she is dead and still unidentified.
Wasn't There
|
September 20, 2012
I can't comment on what happened here because i was not there to witness the incident. I am quite sure that 100% of the people on here moaning about persecuting the officer involved were not there either. The resident who lives there was not even a witness to what happened because he was in his living room or den according to him so none of you know exactly what happened.

He can tell you all that he wants that the dog won't bite but most dogs wont bite until the first time and if I were the officer I wouldn't want to be the dogs first. The officer felt threatened by the dog and did what he had to to protect himself.

All of you out there yapping about he should have used his mace or his taser or his baton have not been put in that situation and until you have you have no right to tell a policeman how to protect himself.

You know in a perfect world this would have ever happened but this isn't a perfect world is it. I am quite sure the officer didn't come to work that day with the intention of killing someone's pet but I won't blame him for protecting himself and I imagine that the officer feels bad about having to do that.

You people need to think before you yap about someone protecting themselves.
1st in battle
|
September 20, 2012
In my younger days I used to jog (we called it training back then).

I lived in Savannah and was taking my first trip around the block when a German Shepard charged and nipped at me as I passed "his" house.

Happened again the second time I made the trip (on the other side of the street this time).

The third time I made the trip (I am a slow learner) I sawed off a Loiusville Slugger and when the dog charged me again I whacked him between the eyes . He ran off yelping.

Problem solved.

I did not feel in danger for my life from a barking, nipping dog. They are not timberwolves!!! They are domestic pets!!!

Extreme measures were not called for in this case

Unbelieveable!!!!!

The cop doesn't need to be fired, but he should be the object of unrelenting ridicule and teasing from his fellow officers.

"Fraidy Cat" Roach might be an appropriate moniker from now on.

Sage954
|
September 20, 2012
There were so many more options before pulling the trigger. If you read the article you will see that all he had to do was shut the door. The officer makes a lame excuse as to why he didn'tt, claiming it would have put him in more danger.

I would bet the farm that what really happened is that this "Hero" got the pee scared out of him and couldn't think straight or make good decisions under duress. He started scrambling backwards and didn't even think of closing the door. He had a gun in his hand and his first and only instinct uunder pressure was to use it.
Don't need to be
|
September 20, 2012
A dog is going to bark aggressively at anyone coming in their home. That's what dogs do. That does not mean a cop can shoot every dog in every house they walk into. No excuse! Maybe they need training!?!?!

Cops make mistakes
|
September 22, 2012
@Wasn’t There – Are you a friend or relative of the cop who shot the dog or are you another cop defending your own for his incompetence? Don’t you think there was a better alternative like closing the door as the dog approached? How does closing the door put him at any more risk than leaving it open and running away? Is it CCPD policy to shoot first and think later? Are a little compassion and a simple I’m sorry too much to ask? Personally, my opinion of CCPD is rock bottom right now.
SMART...
|
September 20, 2012
Homeowner says he doesn't understand why the police went to his back door? Maybe because that's where you set the alarm off, DUH! What, they should go to the front door and knock while Mr. Burglarer or Home Invader is using the door where the alarm activated. My guess is the police parked in front and walked to the back. Try looking outside! As for the dog, would people be crying if it was a Pit? NO!! If you know the police are coming stand outside. If that's to hard put your dog on a leash or in a room with the door closed. You know the cops are coming, right!! Your dog heard the cops and began barking. Wouldn't that let you...hmm, maybe someone is hear. Maybe next time an alarm goes off and a dog is visible the police should sit and wait while the home owner is getting rape and murdered inside. At least the dog will be ok. GIVE ME A BREAK!!!
Not so smart
|
September 20, 2012
It's easy to thow out the woulda coulda shoulda's at this point. The bottom line is the officer shot someone's pet at a faults alarm (98% are). This could have been handled several differnt ways. Does a meter reader have the right to shoot a dog? NO! Does the mailman? No! No one does! Not even a cop. There are other ways to handle the situation.

see2sides
|
September 20, 2012
I don't own a dog, but have 2 beloved cats, which I had to replace because of poisoned wheat gluten from China. Yes, thousands of pets sickened and dead, no one charged, no one went to jail, and PETA did not say one peep. Michael Vick was responsible for the deaths of a few dogs, no one's pet really, and he went to jail and PETA was up in arms still to this day.

I have had a break-in, when the alarm sounded the person(s) left quickly by another door. We were hours away and the Cobb police found no one there, 2 open doors and they locked up and reported it to the alarm company. We have guns in the house and luckily the burglar(s) didn't take the time to find them or it could have been a life and death situation for the police. It takes a lot of courage to walk into that home in an unknown situation.

I actually returned a lab to a neighbor who had a pit bull mix. Couldn't tell the difference, but the lab just jumped the fence and came back to me. I don't own a dog and that lab looked like that pit bull to me.

This is a no-win situation for the dog owner and the police officer. Sadness all around. Please pray for all involved.
Just Wait
|
September 20, 2012
I have a couple of solutions for similar problems. First, if you have an alarm, let your alarm company come out to your house went it is activated. You pay them, why waste the non-alarm tax payer's money to service you? Plus, it will keep the police out of your yard. Second, if you are so disgusted with the police in Cobb County, I suggest "2 Guys and a Truck" or you local U-Haul dealer. Move to Gwinette County where so many of you think things are better.
Lab Lover
|
September 20, 2012
I have had 6 labs over my lifetime, 2 of those I currently have and I can say Labs are the most gentle dogs of any breed. They all have a mean bark, but will not hurt a fly. I have never met a MEAN lab. The officer should have kicked the lab, or sprayed him with pepper spray, but not shoot him? Really?? That is so uncalled for. If I were being "so called charged" at by a dog and did not have a gun, I would kick it, punch it etc... Just b/c he has a gun he has to shoot it?? Poor lab- So sorry Sir for your loss. No need for it!!
I cry with you, sir.
|
September 20, 2012
I cry with you, sir. It's devastating to lose a friend like that - something that you care about and that loves you, too. Those police officers were wrong. Please take comfort in the fact your dog died knowing you loved him. When my pet passed away recently, I had her cremated so I always will be able to take her with me and no one will ever dig her up when escavating the property after I'm gone and carelessly toss her about. She always will be with me for me to take care of her. God bless you, sir.
Piney Woods Pete
|
September 19, 2012
None of us were there, but if the MDJ article is correct, Officer Roach wasn't truthful in his report. A COMPLETE investigation is in order here. I do not want this cop on the street until he comes clean. Maybe not even then, but we deserve to know what really happened.

We should all write our County Commissioner and demand an independent agency look into this. I know I am!

ahh more experts
|
September 19, 2012
Like others have stated it is an ugly situation all the way around.

Really people? The cop shoulda done this, the cop shoulda done that....blah blah. The man's dog paid the price for his incompetence.

The cop took an oath to protect you and your property. He is not obligated to take a dog bite to do it.

The cop had no chance going in. If he had sprayed the dog, tased the dog or hit him with a night stick you'd still be on here raising a stink.

If you think you can do it better than him strap on a gun and give it a try.If not, be quiet. You weren't there!
The Ruckus Society
|
September 19, 2012
I agree with all of the critics of the police on this. They are way too “rigger happy” hen it comes to peoples dogs. There have been several instances over the past few years where people’s dogs have been killed needlessly. When they go onto private property they have to realize that there could be a pet present. Everyone else including mail carriers, UPS, and FedEx drivers all have to deal with this situation. They don’t have recourse to a gun. So why should the police get to shoot people’s dogs just because there is a sight possibility that they might be bit? In this case he could have shot in front of the dog and that would almost certainly have deterred animal. Pepper spray, Tasser, or baton could also been employed if the actually attacked. It is time the police policy should be reformed on this issue.
Try It...
|
September 20, 2012
I don't think that mail carriers, UPS, or FedEx are checking the interior of a house after an alarm activation. I would think the officer had his gun out if he is going through a house looking for a possible burglary in progress. Do you think in three seconds you could holster a gun and then pull out something else with a 100lb dog chargering you? If so sign up, I hear the Police are hiring.
THIS HAS TO STOP
|
September 19, 2012
I want to hear the radio call from Gibson reportedly radioed dispatch notifying them of a “vicious animal.” A dog bite can be fixed but not a dead family dog if that happen to my dogs I would be dead or in jail

Jesse j
|
September 19, 2012
I am sure there is more to the story that CCPD can't comment on since it is still under investigation. Remember things are not always as they appear. DAMNED IF YOU DO, DAMNED IF YOU DON'T
BlueStarMom
|
September 19, 2012
I am so sorry for this man. The dog was doing what dogs do....Bark at Strangers! Cops must get better training as far as animals are concerned because this is NOT unusual for them! What ever happened to Mace? Funny you never hear of Mailmen or UPS drivers shooting dogs!
200books
|
September 19, 2012
The man should have been standing in his driveway waiting for the police. Why wait in the den? The police wouldn't have even gone into the backyard. Homeowner's fault completely! Stupid man. Poor dog.
LabLover-CopMother
|
September 19, 2012
I have 2 labs and I don't doubt for one second if they perceived a threat to me or anyone in my family, they would protect us. They are very loyal dogs and great with family, but they are very protective. Does anyone remember the lady who had the face transplant? Mauled by her own lab. She was passed out from an overdose and he was probably trying to wake her, but mauled, nonetheless. I also have a son who is a police officer and he has had very similar training to this incident. How would he know that the dog lived there and didn't belong to the suspect? if any of you bunny huggers were being threatened by an aggressive dog, what would your reaction be?Let it be a lesson to everyone - any 911 operator will tell you to make sure animals are put away when emergency personnel are en route. It is a very sad story, but it could have been prevented.
the perfect solution
|
September 19, 2012
Here it is FIRE the cop, TRAIN these neo nazi officers and Warren RESIGNS!!!
its was the police
|
September 20, 2012
It was the police department you clown. Warren is the Sheriff, not the police chief.
Getyourstorystraight
|
September 20, 2012
Warren resigns???? Warren is the Sheriff of the county. This was a police officer. I agree with 200books, wait in your driveway for police to arrive with your ID in hand, that way there would be no confusion.
Not Quite
|
September 20, 2012
Nice try - but Warren is the Sheriff - he is not over the PD.
sage954
|
September 19, 2012
If you read the article in the Marietta Daily Journal, you will see that in the "official report" the officer says he opened the door and from his right he saw the dog. He goes on to state that he did not close the door because it would have put him in danger from the unknown entity inside. Rather he left the door open and began retreating backwards. HUH ! When in the world has closing a door to a perceived threat and then proceeding to retreat put you in more danger than leaving the door open and trying to retreat ?
huh2
|
September 20, 2012
Have you ever responded to an alarm call and not known if it was a burglary in progress? Just curious.
sage954
|
September 20, 2012
To HUH2

That wasn't the point of my post. I asked the question: When has shutting the door and retreating ever increased the danger? He stated it would have and I say that is a bunch of hooey.
huh2
|
September 20, 2012
The point of my post was that when you have responded to alarm call not knowing if there is a armed suspect inside, potentially putting your life on the line (probably for some moron that doesn't like the police anyway) then you can criticize how the police handled a call or why they did something the way they did.
Sage954
|
September 21, 2012
To Huh2

Are you a COP groupie ? Why do you have this COPs are infallible you must worship them attitude ?
huh2
|
September 21, 2012
Really? That's the best you could come up with? That I must be a cop groupie and think that cops are infalliable? I just happen to think that until someone is willing to strap on a gun and face unknown dangers and deal with people and things no one else wants to.... that their opinion is irrelevant.
Galileo
|
September 19, 2012
I just want to let you know how sorry I am for you having to see your pet leave the world this way. I've loved and lost many wonderful " best buddies" to the ravages of this world and I saw felt your deep and intense pain. Some of us, even if it 's just a few, really do care.

*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides