Still no suspects identified in shooting that injured dog in North Union Street neighborhood

Published 5:46 pm Friday, May 5, 2023

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NATCHEZ — While police are still working to identify a suspect, evidence from a shooting that injured someone’s pet and traumatized neighbors late Tuesday indicates that gunshots were fired from the front yard of the Natchez home.

Natchez Police Department investigator Jerry Ford confirmed no suspects are identified in the shooting that took place just before 11:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 800 block of North Union Street, which injured a golden retriever while his owner was walking him in the yard.

“It’s still an open investigation,” Ford said. “Although we haven’t developed a suspect as of yet, we’re still working it. We were able to locate the area where the shots were fired from.”

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Ford confirmed that four .40 caliber shell casings were found underneath bushes along the North Union Street driveway where the dog was injured.

Murphy, a 7-year-old golden retriever, was struck in his right hind leg at the knee joint, shattering the knee. He was rushed to Louisiana State University veterinary hospital, where he has undergone two surgeries to remove the bullet and close up the wound. His owner said Murphy might be able to return home soon but will have to have another surgery to either fuse the bone in his leg or amputate it.

The dog’s owner said she was walking Murphy in the front yard for less than a minute when she just happened to look up into the bushes by the driveway and see a light “like a muzzle flash.” It was then she heard gunshots coming straight toward her.

The dog was on a non-retractable leash, standing right next to his owner.

“I was in complete shock,” she said. “I couldn’t believe that it happenedjust out of the blue.”

The woman, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, had been staying at her mother’s home on North Union Street.

Despite reports on social media of yelling a few blocks away outside a mental health treatment center for adolescents, Ford said the investigation has not revealed that the shooting involved someone at the facility.

“Unless we find evidence that someone got out, we can’t say that it was related,” he said.

Murphy is a very quiet and alert dog and typically would’ve noticed if someone were in the driveway, his owner said. The fact that he didn’t bark makes her suspect that whomever fired the gunshots was hiding.

“He didn’t hear anything before the shots went off,” she said. “It made it seem like they were hiding in the bushes.”

She said the ordeal has made her worried about safety.

“I had been there visiting for about three weeks and Murphy’s dad dropped him off later and he had been there about a week,” she said. “I walk him around the yard and that’s it. I don’t even walk him on the street. It has made me very concerned to be in that area. I’m also worried for my mom’s safety, who lives there. I like visiting Natchez — loved visiting there before this. Now I’m scared.”