RACINE — A dog was shot and killed as police moved in to end a 3-hour and 40-minute standoff Saturday afternoon at a residence at 4000 Victory Avenue.
The incident, which police said began at about 11:30 a.m., concluded at about 3:10 p.m. when the male resident of the home was seen being taken into custody. No humans were injured. The man, whom police had not identified as of 6 p.m. Saturday, was in custody at the Racine County Jail, said police Sgt. Sam Stulo.
The incident started over a confrontation about leaf blowing and dog excrement, said Kim Polk, 49, who lives diagonally from the man in the 1600 block of Russet Street. Polk said she was using a leaf blower to pick up leaves and move them when her neighbor made a comment about her clearing leaves at his house when she was done. Polk said she did not see humor in the statement.
“I’m neighborly, but there are some neighbors you just don’t mess with and that’s one neighbor we don’t fool with,” Polk said, noting the man’s many alleged run-ins with police in the past.
Polk and another neighbor on Russet Street, Jim Pirk, 61, allege that the man taken into custody Saturday has problems with alcohol.
“The guy comes over to the house all the time and is real nice and polite and everything. But when he drinks — different story,” said Pirk, a truck driver.
Polk said that as she was conversing with the neighbor, his dog had a bowel movement on her yard. When she asked the man to dispose of the excrement, he allegedly kicked it into the pile of leaves that Polk was trying to move with the leaf blower. It was then the situation began to escalate, Polk said.
“Then he went to threaten me to the fact of saying “when I see Prince (Polk’s dog) in my yard I’m going to shoot him with my bow and arrow,” Polk said.
The threats about the bow and arrow were then allegedly turned on Polk herself.
“So at that time I called my husband. I said ‘Where are you? This fool across the street is threatening to hurt Prince and me.’ So he came and knocked on his door and he wouldn’t answer. So Brian just continued to beat on the door and he finally opened the door and Brian said ‘why are you threatening my wife and family?’ ” Polk said. “So he kept talking crazy and telling him you better get off my property. He closed the door and when he opened it up he had a machete. He came out of the house and my husband backed up.”
“He held the machete up in the air and said ‘I have something for you,’ ” Polk said. “He took the machete and he threw it in the grass where it stuck down in the grass and then he picked it back up and at that time I called my daughter to call 911.”
Stulo said police tried several times to get the man to leave his house but he refused to cooperate and eventually the situation was considered volatile enough to call in the special weapons and tactics team. Officers also had been threatened, Stulo said. In addition to officers in body armor, canine units were on scene, as was an armored SWAT vehicle that was used to bring officers to the house.
Not long after 3 p.m., officers advanced on the house and three shots were heard and, shortly thereafter, a man was seen being taken into police custody. Stulo confirmed a dog was shot at the residence.
A woman who was being kept in a police car at the incident command post on 17th Street, west of Lathrop Avenue, left the car shortly after the man was taken into custody. The crying woman did not giver her name but said she was a longtime friend of the man and that the dog inside the house actually belonged to her. She said the dog’s name was Angel and was a 3-year-old “blue heeler,” or Australian cattle dog. According to various websites, the medium-sized short-haired breed can be one-owner dogs, protective of their homes and have a high level of energy due to their herding instincts.
“I just feel bad for Angel. They didn’t have to shoot the dog,” Pirk said.