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Argument About Stealing Pet Leads To Keys Man, Dog Shot

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STOCK ISLAND (CBSMiami) — An alleged gunman is behind bars in the Florida Keys following a heated argument that left one man in critical condition and a dog wounded by gunfire.

engelhardt Argument About Stealing Pet Leads To Keys Man, Dog Shot

Dwight Engelhardt, 63. (Source: Monroe County Sheriff’s Office)

It happened Friday evening at the Hog Fish Marina on Stock Island when the victim, Charles Whitaker, 55, and a friend, Dirk Giagu, 46, brought Giagu’s dog into the marina’s restaurant.

The two had some drinks and as they were leaving, Whitaker got into an argument with a woman after she made a joke about stealing the dog.

According to police, this upset Whitaker, who took the remark seriously and began yelling and swearing at her.

That’s when the alleged gunman, Dwight Engelhardt, 63, stepped in and told Whitaker to leave “because he was trespassing.”

A witness told Det. Bernardo Barrios with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office that Engelhardt threatened to “kill” Whitaker several times. He then left to grab a .380 caliber handgun from his sailboat and returned, opening fire on Whitaker.

Whitaker was struck three times in his groin and the dog was struck once in the leg.

He was later airlifted to Kendall Regional Hospital in critical but stable condition. The dog was treated for a reportedly non-life-threatening injury.

Engelhardt was located on his sailboat and taken into custody. The gun he used was also still on the boat, police stated. He was charged with attempted murder.

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