PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Florida sheriff’s deputy had to make a split-second decision over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Deputy Monica Bray shot an attacking pit bull, and in the process, shot off part of her finger.
That same dog had viciously attacked a homeless man moments earlier.
Jim Ames saw the entire incident, including when Bray tripped. “She was on her back and the dog was headed for her,” Ames said. “Someone had cut the leash.”
He said the incident began moments earlier. “Another person came in to steal her generator. He got bit on the bicep and on the wrist,” Ames said.
Bray responded to the “dog bite” call. Her body camera recorded everything.
On the tape, you can see her approach a mobile home, when suddenly, the pit bull appears. “Better stay there brother. Hello, Virgina,” the deputy calls to the dog’s owner. Then the dog lunges at Bray. The deputy fires two shots. “Shot my finger off. I just shot my fingers,” she is heard saying.
In trying to fend off the attack, Bray shot the dog and part of her left ring finger.
“I don’t want to look at it,” she says.
Another deputy then offered Bray comfort. “Hold on. Get in my car. Let’s go,” he is heard saying, putting Bray in his squad car.
The pit bull’s owner posted a video to Facebook, where she can be heard sobbing. “Why don’t you put him out of his misery? You let him suffer like that,” she yells in the video.
The dog’s owner, who lives in a tent in the woods, doesn’t believe Bray had to shoot. She also insists the dog was on a leash.
Ames, her neighbor, disagrees. “I would say it was the dog or the female deputy,” he said.
Bray owns three pit bulls herself. She is very familiar with their behavior.
Bray is recovering.