A Virginia State Police trooper has been charged in connection with the shooting death of a pit bull in Manassas Park earlier this month, but the dog's owners still have few answers.
Trooper Christopher Daniel Campbell, 28, of Yost Street was arrested March 18 and charged with one misdemeanor count of cruelty to an animal and one misdemeanor count of discharging a firearm in a public place, Manassas Park police said in a news release Monday.
He is accused of fatally wounding family pet, Che, who family members said was in their yard at 111 Runyon Court at the time.
Police did not say how Campbell was developed as a suspect in the case. He was apparently off-duty at the time of the incident.
The shooting happened around 9:45 p.m. March 8. Officers were called to investigate gunfire in the area and arrived to find Che suffering a gunshot wound. He was rushed to an emergency vet where he died of his injuries.
Witnesses reported seeing two suspects running from the area. Manassas Park police have not said if they are still looking for a second suspect.
Che would have turned 5 years old next month.
"We have no idea why it happened," said Luci Marisol Flores. "We are still in shock that someone like him who is supposed to protect our community would commit such a cruel crime against a dog."
Police have not released a motive for the crime.
Campbell graduated from the police academy in March 2012 and was assigned to the Fairfax division, said state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.
He has been placed on unpaid leave pending the outcome of the criminal investigation. In addition, state police have launched an internal investigation into the incident, Geller said.
Campbell is scheduled to appear in court May 5.