Officer says he used self defense when killing pit bull

Investigators say a pit bull was released on a police officer by burglary suspects and that's why the officer shot the dog.

The investigation centers around a home on Lumary Drive in north Huntsville.

The suspects in this case are juveniles.

At least two of them are 17 years old.

We were there when they were being detained by police, but we are not showing their faces or naming them because of their age.

Police say it all started earlier Tuesday afternoon when a neighbor witnessed a burglary and called authorities.

Officers were dispatched to the neighborhood and that's when one of them spotted some of the juveniles walking in front of this house.

Police say some of the suspects live there.

Sergeant Larry Childress, who is the supervisor on the scene, says one of the teens went in the home through the front door and released a pit bull on the officer and as a result, the officer fired his gun to protect himself from the animal.

Some neighbors who heard multiple shots fired told us the pit bull often pushes through the glass door and runs into the yard.

One said it's aggressive; another told us it's a friendly dog and she feels the officer could have used different action to defend himself.

The officer told us the dog made a beeline for him.

The shift supervisor has to account for the rounds fired.

He explained those rounds were recovered.

"The officer ordered him to stop in the yard to conduct the investigation for the burglary," Sgt. Childress said.  "At that point, he refused to stop and went inside the house and released the dog and the dog charged the officer."

An after-action report will be written because deadly force was used.

One of the teens has been charged with third degree burglary, another will be charged with third degree burglar,  and the remaining two were released after questioning later Tuesday afternoon.