MEAD VALLEY: Man who shot and killed dog arrested after video of incident emerges
UPDATED: 04/03/2016 1:50 p.m.
WRITERS NOTE: The video in this report has footage showing the fatal shooting of a dog. The video is extremely graphic and contains strong language. Still shots from the beginning of the video are included in this report, however there are no images posted of the actual shooting or of the dog after it was shot, due to the sensitive and graphic nature of the images.
MEAD VALLEY – Riverside County Sheriff’s investigators arrested a Mead Valley resident on Saturday, April 2, after he reportedly shot and killed a dog that had wandered onto his property. The arrest came after a cell phone video of the incident was posted to social media.
The video, which is extremely graphic and can be seen below, was uploaded to Facebook by Alexis Lemmon, identified as the daughter of the dog’s owner.
As of this update, the video had been viewed over 135,000 times and created an immediate firestorm of controversy. Many who saw the video expressed sadness, anger and disgust. Others who viewed the disturbing video angrily called for the immediate arrest of the man who shot the helpless and trapped dog.
Some who commented on the video on Facebook claimed the dog was known to wander the neighborhood and that the dog’s owner had been warned by neighbors about the dog getting loose. Others claimed the owner of the residence lured the dog onto his property, before closing his fence and trapping it.
The fatal shooting incident occurred at about 2 p.m., on Friday, April 1, in the 17500 block of Clark Street, according to Deputy Armando Munoz, public information officer for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. The residence where the shooting occurred is located in the unincorporated community of Mead Valley.
During the 91 second video, Michael Lemmon, the dog’s owner, used his cell phone to film as a man, who was later identified as Christopher Samuel, 54, of Mead Valley, chased and then shot the helpless and fleeing dog. The dog was later described as a 2-year-old Pit Bull mix.
The video, which begins after the incident had already started, shows Samuel following and chasing the dog with what appears to be an AR-15 style rifle. As the video begins, it clearly shows the dog wandering calmly around inside Samuel’s yard, behind a closed fence. As Samuel aims his rifle to shoot the dog, Lemmon can be heard pleading with the armed man to let his dog go.
“My dog is not doing nothing to you.” Lemmon is heard saying on the video. “You’re the one that locked him in the yard. My dog isn’t attacking anybody.”
The video shows the dog trapped inside Samuel’s property; behind a black, iron fence. Witnesses later stated Samuel closed the fence after the dog wandered onto his property. In the video, the dog appears scared and confused and makes no attempt to harm or attack Samuel.
Despite Lemmon’s plea’s, Samuel began to chase the dog with his rifle, as it tried to run from the armed man. The dog is seen repeatedly trying to exit through the fence that Samuel reportedly closed.
As Lemmon continued filming the video he can be heard repeatedly begging Samuel not to shoot his dog. Lemmon then calls for bystanders to call the police.
Lemmon can then be heard pleading to another witness, saying, “He Locked him in the yard, he shut the gate, and now he’s trying to shoot my dog.”
Samuel ignored Lemmon’s plea’s, chasing and cornering the fleeing dog. Moments later, the video shows Samuel fire the first of two rounds into the trapped and cowering animal at nearly point-blank range. After the dog had been shot and was lying in the driveway of the residence, Samuel walked back up to it and fired again, killing the dog. After Samuel shot his dog the second time, Lemmon can be heard screaming in frustration.
Deputies responded to the location after they received several reports of gun-shots being fired in the residential neighborhood.
When they arrived, deputies located the deceased dog on Samuel’s property. Deputies also located and interviewed Samuel, as well as numerous witnesses to the fatal shooting. Based on their initial investigation, deputies requested assistance from sheriff’s investigators from the Perris Station, who assumed the investigation.
Riverside County Animal Control officers responded to the residence and assisted with the recovery of the deceased dog, according to Riverside County Department of Animal Services spokesman John Welsh.
On Saturday, April 2, investigators from the Perris Station authored and served search and arrest warrants at Samuel’s residence. During the service of the warrants, investigators arrested Samuel, according to Munoz. The rifle Samuel used in the fatal shooting was located and seized as evidence.
Samuel was booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center for animal cruelty and negligent discharge of a firearm, Munoz wrote in a press release about the incident. Both are felony charges.
A jail records search showed Samuel was booked into jail just after 10 p.m., on April 2. He was released the following day after posting $5,000 bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned on May 27, at the Riverside Hall of Justice.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department is encouraging anyone with information about this investigation to contact Investigator John Wyatt at (951) 210-1000. Callers can refer to incident file number PC160920037 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s CrimeTips online form.
(WARNING: VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT AND DISTURBING IMAGES)
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