ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. – After days of silence from the Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Douglas Darr announced in a press conference today that Deputy Wilfred Europe III, 31, has been permanently removed from patrol duty after he fatally shot Jeff Fisher’s 8-year-old blue heeler/border collie mix named Ziggy.
Ziggy was shot and killed after deputies went to the wrong building while responding to a burglar alarm.
“The deputies were sent to try to determine what set off the alarm,” Darr stated, “But never got to the right building.”
There are several businesses in the small area, the alarm was set off in Thoutt Brothers Concrete, but because some of the businesses do not have numbers on them, the deputies ended up at Fisher’s business called "Advanced Door."
"They found that door to be open (unlocked)," Darr stated. "The deputies do what they're supposed to do, and they decided to check it. They crack it open and as they crack it open they hear somebody inside and also hear a dog."
“The person inside, who was later identified as Fisher, grabbed the door just before the deputy pulled it closed. The sheriff said the two deputies stepped back and drew their weapons.” Darr continued.
Fisher opened the door and the deputies gave him instructions, including asking him to control his dog. Ziggy did get out and Darr described the animal as "barking and growling."
"One deputy retreated about 20-to-25 feet, um, as the dog was moving toward him he kicked the dog and as we were told it didn't deter the dog. The dog continued to come and the deputy fired two rounds, one of the rounds hitting the dog," Darr stated.
According to Darr, the 55-to-57 pound dog was killed about 23-feet from the door.
Fisher has stated Ziggy was running away from the deputy at the time the shots were fired. Darr would not comment on that, stating it was a piece of the ongoing investigation.
Darr also stated his department didn't have a written protocol for handling dogs, but stated he expects them to behave "reasonably" with respect to protecting themselves.
When Darr was asked about a comment Europe may have made after the shooting about “Fisher getting a new dog,” Darr stated “It was being looked in to.”
"We've discovered that Europe admits he made a comment like that and that will become a part of our internal affairs investigation," Darr stated.
Darr ended the press release stating, “His department would look into training to help avoid a repeat of this situation.”
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