By Alexis Stevens
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A Clayton County mother of six said the family dog did what he always did when he saw someone. He barked.

But when “Boomer” started barking and running toward a police officer Saturday morning, the officer shot the dog and killed it, Lawrene King told the AJC Sunday night.

“He’s a golden retriever,” King said. “He barks, but he’s never bitten anyone.”

A Clayton County police officer was on foot patrol on North Shore Drive when the dog jumped off a porch and started barking and running toward the officer, Capt. Tina Daniel said. The officer ordered the dog to stop and when it didn’t, the officer shot and killed the animal in its yard, Daniel said.

The police department has launched an internal investigation into the incident and will not discuss the incident until it is completed, Sgt. Otis Willis said Monday afternoon.

The officer, whose name was not released, was responding to a call reporting a suspicious person, police said.

A resident called police to report that someone was selling meat from the back of a white pickup truck, King said. The friend of one of her children had parked his white truck in front of the family’s home, and King believes the officer was checking it to confirm it was involved.

“My neighbor saw the whole thing,” King said. “He was shocked how quickly the officer pulled his gun.”

Boomer was killed about 25 feet from his spot on the front porch, close to her front door, King said. He was not on a leash.

King said she wasn’t home when Boomer was shot, but three teenagers were in her house. King said she received a frantic call from her 19-year-old son Jonathan.

“Mom! He killed my dog,” King said her son screamed.

Lawrene King said police officers were still at her home when she returned.

The family had an electric fence, but there was not a sign alerting the officer it was there, Daniel said.

“I have really worked hard to teach my children about authority. I’ve also taught my children you take responsibility for everything you do,” Lawrene King said. “We’re all human, but don’t try to justify.”

The police department released the following statement Monday: “The Clayton County Police Department certainly sympathizes with the loss of this animal in this unfortunate incident.”