Kingsport police shoot pit bull after it traps woman in car, charges officers

Rain Smith • Jun 29, 2009 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — A pit bull was shot by Kingsport police Saturday after it reportedly trapped a woman in her car and then charged police.

The dog was treated for injuries and is expected to survive, while the animal’s owners may face charges in the incident.

According to Kingsport Police Department Deputy Chief David Quillin, the incident began Saturday about 8:20 p.m. Central Dispatch received a call of a vicious pit bull having a woman trapped in an automobile outside her home, 1661 Ridgeway Drive.

When KPD Officer Seth Brumfield arrived at the scene, the dog had wandered away from the woman’s car, and she was able to gain access into her home through the garage.

Police said Brumfield encountered the dog in the vicinity of the incident, and animal control was dispatched to come pick up the dog.

However, Quillin said that before animal control arrived, the dog became very aggressive, lunging at the officer and then backing away numerous times. When a second officer, Matt Pendleton, arrived at the scene, the dog reportedly became more aggressive and charged police, forcing them to fire at the animal.

Quillin said the dog’s owners could not be located at the time, and the dog was transported to Airport Pet Emergency Clinic in Blountville.

“My understanding this morning is that the dog will probably live,” Quillin said Monday.

The dog’s owners were later identified as Joyce Epps, 30, and Brandon Johnson, 28, both of 1669 Ridgeway Drive. Quillin said an investigation of the incident is continuing, and the two could face charges.

The dog’s owners had the animal admitted to Indian Ridge Animal Hospital in Kingsport. According to Dr. Michael Bunch, the dog has facial injuries and lacerations to one side, but is otherwise doing well.

“It’s unfortunate that it happened, but the officers clearly didn’t have any other choice,” Quillin said. “I’m just grateful there were not any small children or anyone playing (in the area) or this could be a very different story.”

The incident marks the second time in less than a week that Kingsport police have shot a pit bull.

Last Sunday, KPD Officer Darrell Johnson shot a pit bull at Carrington Court while searching for a suspect. Police say Johnson stepped over a fence into a yard where a pit bull and two other dogs charged the officer.

The pit bull was shot and killed, and the KPD handed its reports on the situation over to Sullivan County District Attorney Greeley Wells. Wells then requested the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation look into the incident. As of Monday morning, that report had yet to be completed and handed over to the district attorney’s office.

Quillin said this weekend’s case is not expected to be handed over to the district attorney’s office. He added that besides the two officers at the scene, numerous other residents witnessed the incident and the dog’s aggressive actions.

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