Bruno, a 2-year-old German Shepherd mix, had jumped the 5-foot fence into the neighbor’s yard again, despite an electric wire and shock collar meant to keep him in his own yard. The dog, an incorrigible fence-jumper, was hanging by his red leash over the fence.
Dustin Schmidt, 32, pulled Bruno back over the fence into his own yard around 7 p.m. Tuesday in Thornton, Colo., and gave him a swat, his fiancee, Vicki Branaghan, 42, told KDVR. That’s when the neighbor, Michael Kourosh Sadeghi, 32, exploded, Branaghan said.
“Mike started screaming: ‘Did you hit that dog?’ ” she told The Denver Post. Schmidt tried to calm Sadeghi, but gave up and turned to walk back inside, Branagahn told the publication.
“Mike pulled the gun out and shot Dustin in the back of the head five times,” Branaghan told The Post. “I was just a few feet away. Mike turned around and walked back to his house as though nothing happened.”
Thornton police arrested Sadeghi on suspicion of first-degree murder a short time after officers found Schmidt dead in his back yard of multiple gunshots, officers told KCNC. Police told the station they are still investigating the motive for the shooting.
“I can’t fathom it,” neighbor Terri Van Fossen told The Denver Post. “They’ve always gotten along fine. There was no feud between them. Nothing,”
Schmidt was a manager at a warehouse in Longmont, Colo., Branaghan told the publication. She described her fiancee as “loud and funny,” and said he would eat Bruno’s food to persuade the dog to eat.
As the family copes with Schmidt’s death, it needs dog and cat food, along with someone to walk Bruno, reported KDVR.
Thornton, a suburb of Denver, has a population of about 136,000 people.