Police dog killed during mix-up while pursuing suspect

Verro, an 8-year-old male Belgian Malinois, got out of a patrol car around noon Friday without being released to assist his handler, Cpl. Brandon Kilgore.

PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. — A beloved police dog was killed Friday in a tragic accident when it was mistakenly shot by a Paulding County deputy during a chaotic chase.

Verro, an 8-year-old male Belgian Malinois, got out of a patrol car around noon Friday without being released to assist his handler, Cpl. Brandon Kilgore.

Deputies were in pursuit of a man who fled the scene of an alleged domestic dispute in the Saddlebrook Farms subdivision in Dallas, Paulding sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Ashley Henson said.

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When the K-9 saw someone running away from him, he bit that person. That person turned out to be a deputy.

Unable to remove the dog from his leg after being bitten, the deputy followed his official training, drew his weapon and killed Verro, Henson said.

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Channel 2's Audrey Washington asked Henson if the K-9 was wearing anything that would have identified him.

“Unless they’re going into a known situation, they typically don’t wear their vest," she explained.

As for the suspect, deputies eventually caught up with 20-year-old Malik Richard Branch and took him into custody.

Now, authorities are investigating the shooting.

“It’s almost like it’s the perfect storm of a horrible tragic situation," Henson said.

The Sheriff’s Office declined to publicly identify the deputy who shot the K-9.