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FLORIDA CITY (CBSMiami) – A dog owner is mourning the loss of her pet after a seemingly-harmless encounter with a Florida City detective.

It was a routine morning for Gillian Palacios, co-owner of a two-year-old bully breed mix named Duchess, who says she was getting another dog ready to take a ride.

“I was packing up the car,” said Palacios. “I’d left the passenger door a little bit open because I had another dog that I needed to take to the vet this morning. And as I went back inside to go get him, a police officer came by and saw that the car door was open.”

“One of our detectives was in the area and noticed one of the car doors was open,” said Florida City Police Department public information officer Ken Armenteros.  “The detective was concerned that there may have been a crime that occurred so he got out to alert the homeowners.”

Surveillance cameras set up outside the family’s home show the detective knocking on the front door. And just as soon as it opened, Duchess ran out and scared the officer.

“She was excited. Someone’s at the door. She’s excited to see who it is, you know, normal dog behavior,” said Palacios.

Instinctively, the officer pulled out his gun and opened fire on the dog.

“I was about to grab her. I had her and two seconds later, it’s three gunshots,” said Sage Raphael, Palacios’ daughter.

“We don’t have the luxury of hindsight,” said officer Armenteros.  “We have to use the information that is given to us in a split second so the officer has to make that decision with the information that he has available.”

Duchess died just a few feet from the front door to the house.

The family is now asking the officer for answers.

“He needs to take responsibility for his actions,” Raphael demanded. “If he didn’t want to be in this position, he should have never pulled that gun and made that first move.”

The officer, identified as Marcus Terry in the police incident report, has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

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