ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — A Texas police officer accidentally shot and killed a woman behind a shopping plaza when he fired repeatedly at a dog believed to be hers that was running at him, authorities said.
The officer and other emergency workers in the Dallas suburb of Arlington responded Thursday to a welfare check concerning the woman who appeared to be passed out in a grassy area behind the plaza. The barking dog, which residents said was small and resembled a beagle, ran toward the officer as he was calling out to the woman.
Police said the officer began backing up, then drew his gun and fired at the dog as it kept charging at him. The woman yelled out after the shots were fired, they said.
The woman, identified as 30-year-old Margarita Victoria Brooks by the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office, died at a hospital. The dog, which investigators think belonged to Brooks, survived.
People who live and work near where the shooting occurred said they often saw Brooks walking with her boyfriend and that the couple appeared to be homeless. They said the pair always had a dog with them.
Larry Hamilton told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he lives in a nearby apartment but was homeless for several years and knew Brooks. He described her as “a good-hearted person” who always made sure the dog was fed before she was. He said the dog was small and a mix between a beagle and Labrador retriever and didn’t appear to be aggressive.
Robert Baxter, a sales manager at a nearby auto dealership, said the dog resembled a beagle and was small to medium in size.
“They typically walked down this way almost every day,” Baxter told the newspaper.
Arlington police Lt. Christopher Cook said Friday that it’s not clear if Brooks was having a medical emergency before the shooting. Cook said investigators were reviewing body camera footage of the shooting and additional information was expected to be released later Friday, including how many shots the officer fired and how many times Brooks was struck.
Authorities have not provided the officer’s name and Cook said he’s not sure when it will be released.