NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The calls soon started rolling in about a shooting no one could have imagined at Percy Warner Park.
“I had to shoot somebody’s dog,” the shooter said to 911 dispatch.
On Wednesday morning, the shooter called 911.
“It’s horrible,” he said. “I shot somebody’s German Shepherd that got too close.”
It all happened around 10:30 a.m. near the front of the park.
“Yeah, he just killed a sweet dog that was walking,” said one witness.
The shooter told police he was getting out of his car when a German Shepherd aggressively approached him while chasing a squirrel.
“They didn’t have it on a leash,” he said. “I didn’t know they had it on a shock collar.”
“I think I heard about seven,” said one witness. “It was just like boom, boom, boom, and then I look and he had his gun out and he was probably like 20 feet away from me.
Authorities said the man fired three shots, killing the dog.
“I don’t know what the right thing is to do but to call it in,” the shooter said.
He claimed the owners were there and were heartbroken over the shooting.
“I mean, I almost cried and I got goosebumps,” said parkgoer Ashley Hopkins. “I mean, it’s hard to even fathom that happening here, because it’s a place of comfort for me.”
Parkgoers like Hopkins are still processing the news.
“I never would have thought about somebody having a gun here,” she said.
Percy Warner Park lies in State Sen. Heidi Campbell’s (D-Nashville) district.
“I was hearing from people at the park today who are very scared to go to the park and are rethinking not going to the park anymore,” Campbell said.
The lawmaker also said she’s worried about the safety of her residents.
“We have to be able to feel like we have safe places where we can go and enjoy the environment in our city without having to worry about getting shot,” she said.
Tennessee’s Republican legislature voted in 2015 to block local gun bans in public parks. The law allows anyone with a permit to carry their handgun in a park, but the exception doesn’t apply if there are school-related functions taking place in the vicinity.
“It just goes back to the whole thing that not everybody should have a permit,” said Hopkins.
Some witnesses claimed the opposite of what the shooter said, telling News 2 the dog was friendly and well-behaved, but this recent incident leaves many questioning if this could happen again.
“If your fear is that intense to result in that kind of reaction, maybe you shouldn’t come to a place that people bring their dogs,” said Hopkins.
The shooter also told police he is afraid of dogs after his brother was mauled by one as a child.
Authorities told News 2 they are not pressing any charges against the shooter.