The new owner of Vallejo's former Veterans Building on Alabama Street was mistaken for a burglar Friday night and one of his dogs fatally shot by police.
"I guess they were justified in doing it," said building owner Ed Boydston, 83. "I don't know about the law, but I guess they had justified rights. Someone reported a burglary."
A report of a suspicious circumstance, possibly a burglary in process, came in to police around 5 p.m. Friday, according to police logs. The caller reported seeing a truck with an open gate backed up to a parking spot near an open door to what they believed was an abandoned building, Vallejo police Lt. Kevin Bartlett said.
Police entered the building around 6 p.m. and reportedly announced their arrival, Bartlett said. Boydston said he was at the back of the building and did not hear the police announcement, only a "shuffling noise."
Boydston asked who was there at the same time as his dog, a 150-pound golden retriever, "Tiger," -- approached an officer in what police described as an aggressive manner, Bartlett added. Boydston then heard a 'bang.'
"I said, 'Don't shoot my dog, and I heard very clearly, 'I just did,' " Boydston said. "I kind of feel like the dog tripped a shot for me. It could have been me that was shot. I was 10-12 feet away."
Boydston said Tiger was a large but sweet and beautiful dog given to him as a gift about eight or nine years ago.
The officer was reportedly unable to retreat from the dog, due to a wall or other barrier, and fired one fatal shot at the dog, Bartlett said.
Boydston, whose history with Vallejo and the former Veterans Building go back to his junior high school days, had only just received the keys to the building the same afternoon as the shooting, he said. The Korean War veteran hopes to bring back to life the building, which once played host to a young "skinny" Frank Sinatra, for artist, business office and wine-tasting use.
On Friday, Boydston was checking out a broken window, using only a flashlight to light his way.
"I kind of blame it on all the riff raff we've got around in the streets here," Boydston said. "The police shot the dog, (but) the riff raff in the streets is the problem."
©2013 Times-Herald (Vallejo, Calif.)
Visit Times-Herald (Vallejo, Calif.) at www.timesheraldonline.com