Police dog killed during mix-up while pursuing suspect

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.

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.


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.