Dog Day Afternoon

Sheriff Joe's goons launched an assault to make a misdemeanor arrest. The Raid left a burned house, a terrified neighborhood and a dead dog

Justin Delfino looked out the window of his Ahwatukee home and couldn't believe what he was seeing.

It was shortly after noon on July 23 and several men dressed in black jeans and green shirts were getting out of an unmarked white Suburban, casually putting on flak jackets and helmets.

Soon the men were lingering in front of his neighbor's house in the upscale gated subdivision of quarter-million-dollar homes.

An Ahwatukee residence looked more like a war zone, following a MCSO strike.
Jackie Mercandetti
An Ahwatukee residence looked more like a war zone, following a MCSO strike.
Fire ripped through the Ahwatukee home, leaving it a complete loss.
Jackie Mercandetti
Fire ripped through the Ahwatukee home, leaving it a complete loss.

Delfino never would have guessed that he was witnessing the final preparations by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office SWAT team moments before it unleashed a barrage of tear gas grenades into his neighbor's home.

"They looked unprofessional. They were getting dressed on the scene. They weren't organized," Delfino, 22, says.

From his vantage point inside his home, Delfino couldn't see that deputies had rolled an armored personnel carrier into the neighbor's front yard as they prepared to storm the house.

Delfino could see no readily visible insignia on any of the men, so he figured the scene must be a prelude to a prank on the two men and a woman with a toddler who lived in the two-story stucco house across the street.

"I thought, these must be their friends and they are going to try and shoot paint balls at them," Delfino says.

But soon he knew that what he first thought was a gag must be about something deadly serious.

"I saw one of the guys was perched and aiming a gun at the window," he says. "All of a sudden, he fires off a tear gas round into the upstairs window.

"I immediately called 911. I didn't know what was going on."

Delfino says the men -- who he next thought must be members of a gang -- continued firing tear gas canisters through three upstairs windows in the front of the house. He saw others wearing flak jackets go around to the back of the house, where he heard them fire two more rounds at the upstairs windows of a back bedroom.

After a few minutes on the phone with a 911 operator, Delfino says, he was told that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office was serving a search warrant on the house and "not to worry."

That's when Delfino really got nervous. With good reason.

Delfino tells me he didn't know whether a huge gun battle was about to erupt 20 yards from his front door. No one from the sheriff's office had alerted him -- or any of his neighbors -- to evacuate.

Moments later, the situation deteriorated even further when the house erupted into flames. Now, the entire neighborhood of closely packed homes was threatened by the possibility of fire.

There wasn't a fire truck in sight.

Delfino's 'hood wouldn't have fared much worse if it had been a gang of street thugs blasting away at the house, rather than Sheriff Joe Arpaio's inept and bumbling SWAT team.

In less than 30 minutes, Arpaio's special forces unleashed an unprecedented wave of violence on this quiet community. Consider this:

• Just after the tear gas canisters were shot, a fire erupted and destroyed a $250,000 home plus all the contents inside. (The home's occupants believe the tear gas canisters caused the fire. Phoenix fire officials say the blaze was probably started by a lighted candle that was knocked onto a bed during the confusion.)

• The armored personnel carrier careened down the street and smashed into a parked car after its brakes failed.

• And in the ultimate display of cruelty, a SWAT team member drove a dog trying to flee the home back into the inferno, where it met an agonizing death.

Deputies then reportedly laughed as the dog's owners came unglued as it perished in the blaze.

"I was crying hysterically," Andrea Barker, one of the dog's owners, tells me. "I was so upset. They [deputies] were laughing at me."

Making fun of the 10-month-old pit bull puppy's death wasn't enough.

Arpaio's goons then left the dog's body to rot in the ashes for the next five days of 105-degree temperatures. A pall of death hung over the neighborhood. It was a putrid reminder of Arpaio's reckless use of force and callous disregard for the public's welfare. Not to mention the heinous treatment toward the terrified dog.

And what did Arpaio's crack SWAT team net from the raid that left a needless trail of death and destruction?

MCSO stormed the house believing there was a cache of stolen automatic weapons and armor-piercing ammunition. But MCSO got bushwhacked. Instead of finding weapons of mass destruction, they discovered an antique shotgun and a 9 mm pistol that appear to be legal weapons.

There was no sign of the cop-killer bullets. Perhaps they are buried somewhere out in the desert, with Saddam's plutonium.

Given the overwhelming display of force deployed by Arpaio's deputies, one would have expected the arrest of a mass murderer.

Instead, the crack SWAT boys nabbed 26-year-old Eric Kush. Let me tell you, Kush is really a bad, bad guy.

He was wanted on a misdemeanor warrant for failing to appear in Tempe Municipal Court on a couple of traffic citations.

Thank God he's off the street. Well, not quite. He posted his $1,000 bond on the misdemeanor warrant and was quickly released from jail.

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60 comments
Erinsutton
Erinsutton

Wow there are some ignorant people on here. I have a pitbull named Pimp and im white, married, dont do drugs, am a stay at home mom with three great kids, three great pits, my husband works his ass off 6 days a week to make sure we have a good life and is one of the top people at his job. Oh he has tattoos too. We are a family who gives everything we have to people who need it, always help a man when hes down and go to church almost every weekend. Common sense isnt so common now a days

Megan Hartling
Megan Hartling

ya know that's it... people should shoot cops i'm sick of this bullshit I WILL NEVER ASK A COP FOR HELP AGAIN IF IM GETTING RAPED OR ANYTHING NOTHING IS REALLY GETTING DONE HERE. SOMETHING NEEDS TO CHANGE FAST THERE ARE SOO MANY OF THESE CASES AND NO PUBLIC MEDIA !

Misshmacon
Misshmacon

Are you all fucking fools ? What those cops did was barbaric to that pup and to that home. A civil suit should go out against the city. Fuck bureaucrats that are steroids drug users themselves and go nuts and torture and abuse..then laugh.? Those cops should be tested....wanna bet they use?

JD hates Pontiac
JD hates Pontiac

a pit bull named Dre? that tells me all I need to know about this supposedly innocent dirtbag

Erinsutton
Erinsutton

Wow there are some ignorant people on here. I have a pitbull named Pimp and im white, married, dont do drugs, am a stay at home mom with three great kids, three great pits, my husband works his ass off 6 days a week to make sure we have a good life and is one of the top people at his job. Oh he has tattoos too. We are a family who gives everything we have to people who need it, always help a man when hes down and go to church almost every weekend. Common sense isnt so common now a days

words
words

and you just told me everything i need to know about you.

ignorant fucking douchebag.

JD hates Pontiac
JD hates Pontiac

That I'm really good at guessing what kind of person owns a pit bull named Dre? Don't hate because I'm right and this person was human garbage that got what they deserved.

nbjulian
nbjulian

@JD hates Pontiac  

Dude, this guy is just a troll, or at least an internet tough guy. He'd never say this shit to someone's face, he'd be too afraid of getting his ass kicked. But he can sure say nasty stuff on that internet. STFU, and go back to sleeping with a gun under your pillow you racist douchetard.


And it's obvious you're racist. You make the insinuation that having a dog named "Dre" justifies its murder. The only association I can make is that your ultra-conservative, paranoid brain thinks of "Dr. Dre the Hip-Hop Rapper" and you must think the kid was a gangster because he listen to "Gangster Rap". You know, something an ignorant person would think.

JD hates Pontiac
JD hates Pontiac

Never said anything about race. You're the one equating human trash with black. I am so sorry to hear about your hate filled soul. I hope you work out your issues soon, being a subhuman monster is no way to live. I guess it's no coincidence a hateful bigot like you would champion the "rights" of these killer trash dogs.

maxiemom
maxiemom

YOU'RE the garbage if you think an innocent dog deserves to burn to death because of the reckless actions of some ignorant cops! You obviously have no respect for others, whether they're human or animals. RACISTS like you are a large part of what's wrong with this country because of the ignorance and hate that spews from your filthy mouths.

sick about this
sick about this

No animal should be burned or mistreated for any reason reguardless of the owners race or criminal record. If you think otherwise, I hope you never own any animals or have children for that matter.

JD needs to die
JD needs to die

You need to get what you deserve. You need to have your house set on fire and then you should be forced to burn to death you sick fuck. Or just make it easier on everyone and kill yourself. The world would be so much better off without you.

El Bruce
El Bruce

You mean to say that you believe the victim was black. That's what you're "good at guessing."

Here's your race card.

greentree
greentree

JD Hates, When you write, "this person was human garbage that got what they deserved." Do you mean that burning a puppy to death is justified? You are a monster. Hope the world treats you like the brutal garbage that you obviously are.

extasis213
extasis213

ugh. first, its ACLU not UCLA...second, pits arent a nasty breed. they just get a bad rap from stupid owners, probably like the owners in this article. third, this very very very very very slanted article is an incredibly poor example of journalism. fourth, oh they couldnt get to the door fast enough to open it then the big bad man in blue knocked it down then started shooting...but had time to hide out in the attic??? sure dude, whatever you say. fifth, and im going to stop here or ill be on here all day, im all for treating the poor animals that he rescues better thant he f@#$tard criminals and think its hillarious that he states it so. but put urself in a SWAT situation where you think someone has weapons and there are dangerous people, and a dog comes running at you...you react. its very sad. but you react. laughing about it??? well...im not so sure i can believe the people being interviewed since their story already seems unlikely...but if they were laughing then thats lame. but...again...they sure did work hard at making themselves look like victims but the poor guy who had nothing to hide...was hiding???? yeah.

Really?
Really?

Its Slanted? hmm. It's funny how you are willing to grant human weakness to the SWAT team who train all the time for these types of situations(or at least should), but not to the private citizen with outstanding traffic citations who is attacked by a swat team with a tank. I wonder how most people would "react" to tear gas being fired into their home by the SWAT team in full full combat regalia?

nbjulian
nbjulian

@Really?  

They weren't a legit SWAT team, it was just a bunch of police goons using SWAT gear. These guys obviously weren't highly trained, they fucked up the whole operation and killed an innocent pitbull puppy. A puppy!

Jamie Kelley
Jamie Kelley

Get bent, cunt. Joe Arpaio and his fascist thugs should be pushing up daisies by now.

Eric Rahn
Eric Rahn

I'm guessing he had plenty of time to see an unindentified death squad gathering in his front yard LONG before anyone knocked on the door. And when did he go into hiding? Before or after they kicked the door in? I would think even a perfectly law-abiding citizen would go into hiding if Arpaio's army of jerk-offs were storming their house. Also, judging from Arpaio's record, I wonder how many people in his gulags are ACTUALLY criminals, which makes their poor treatment even more revolting.

Bryan
Bryan

Sheriff Joe Arpaio needs to be dealt with permanently. His reign of terror and corruption needs to end immediately. This is a prime example of why we do not need the police any longer. They are an archaic brute squad whose "power" goes to their heads and makes them think they can do anything that they see fit. If someone does something to me or my family, I am the only one who needs to deliver justice, not the police. I hope they run Joe out of town, better yet, tar and feather his sorry hide first(along with his "swat team")!

Beever
Beever

Yet who do you call for help when you want it and don't know where else to go? Go get robbed or stabbed or shot or raped and let me know whether you want to "deliver justice" youself (which most could never do due to ignorance) or have the police help you.

A Cage for Dime-bag Joe
A Cage for Dime-bag Joe

No one in their right mind would call Sheriff Joke and his thugs.

The only difference between Joe and common street criminals is Joe's driving a car that us taxpayers provided.

Stephanie Heier
Stephanie Heier

Disgusting, despicable, vile, evil, and cruel. Just a few words to decribe my feelings towards these "men".

Tired
Tired

Wow, to the other countries weighing in on this incident and implying that all of America is like this:Do something good in your worthless country. Stop looking at us and crying about how bad we are. You only WISH that you were living here, instead of the fetid rat hole that you are in now. If our country is so bad, why the hell is everyone in the world trying to get in? HMMMM?

Anon
Anon

Yeah, good thing that puppy was burned to death by Arpaio's thugs. Arpaio is evil scum who should be sentenced to living in one of his own hellish third-world prisons, where he would be strapped to a chair and left to die of dehydration by his own fine staff.

Maythedog
Maythedog

You are an ignorant piece of cr@p, not all pitbulls are mean, and even if he was he should NOT have been forced into a burning house to die in agony. People who condione cruety to animals are proven to have serious problems relating to the pain of all living things including other people - sociopath anyone? Disgusting.

Beever
Beever

Check your spelling douchebag.

Eric Rahn
Eric Rahn

Dude, he was being sarcastic.

jerk
jerk

GOOD!

thats what you get for harboring a felon

thats what you get for harboring a violent breed of dog, no matter what its age is.

i for one am happy that another nasty pitbull has been destroyed.

maxiemom
maxiemom

Why don't you read that wonderful book written about Michael Vick's dogs? All but a couple of them have been adopted, and many are therapy, rescue, etc dogs.

Dogs who have lived through the hell that vermin put them through and come out good citizens, loving family members, therapy dogs, etc, should tell even a pea brain like you that pit bulls aren't evil: PEOPLE are evil....

Like the kind of people who'd chase a puppy back into a burning building and laugh while it burned to death in one of the most horrifying deaths imaginable, or the kind of fool who thinks it's perfectly okay for goons like that to CAUSE a puppy to die like that..

Maythedog
Maythedog

Please view above comment to Anon. Ignorant turd.

killingdogs=pussmove
killingdogs=pussmove

dear jerk, you're an idiot. Even through the horrible treatment Vick put his dogs thru all but 4 were able to be put in normal homes... the breed is not nasty however... it's clear you're unable to spin that last brain cell of yours up for a normal thought, that said go troll some where else shitface.

Fed up in Phoenix
Fed up in Phoenix

Go Sheriff Joe Go all the way back to Massachusetts where your from.

nbjulian
nbjulian

@Fed up in Phoenix  

Fuck no, then he'd be a lot closer to me in New Hampshire. We might be a little backwards, but no where near Arizona.

13colonies
13colonies

good lord, thats just amazing.

WHERES INTERNAL AFFAIRS!?! Arpaio's conduct tells me, IA has been "neutralized"

just pathetic

ben franklin spins in his grav
ben franklin spins in his grav

If those thugs caused the death of my dog while callously laughing about it's plight, and then burned down my house, I would dedicate my entire life to ensuring that they suffered ten-thousand times worse than my poor canine... all the while laughing at their pain. I'll take a head for an eye, as these Gestapo don't seem to understand subtlety.

99 times out of 100, Police forces operate like state-sponsored gang members. There are good officers, believe me, but most of their ilk taints their reputation.

I can totally understand the gun nuts now, and I wish them well. Don't worry about those federal restrictions... after all, if someone (ANYONE) threatens your family's safety, you should have every right to defend yourself with the force you see fit.

You endanger that which I love and hold dear, you in turn endanger yourself. If you can't respect that, then rot.

tiffany kincaid
tiffany kincaid

quote""Judging from the number of times it's mentioned by the writer, it seems the worst thing that happened was the death of the dog. I'll counter that by saying how did the deputy know that they dog wasn't going to latch onto him? It's perfectly reasonable in that mayhem to want to stop the dog. Was the dog charging or was he trying to escape? Judgment call for the deputy and the deputy very reasonably chose for his personal safety.end quote"""by Scott

I don't understand what you are saying???? are you saying the death of this dog is not important???? IF so ,this one of the reasons why our country is the way it is now . if the dog was going after him , it was that PUPS job to protect his home and family. but they said the pup was scared and just wanted out and even if the dog was attacking him ,they had on right to laugh about the pup screaming and burning to death . shame on you to have so little compassion . what next , poeple wake up ,it's only going to get worst. I only can hope that everyone will learn to get along and stand up together for whats right . IF IT'S NOT TO LATE ALREADY.

glenn W.
glenn W.

If you beleive this article is wrong you need to do more research on Sheiff Joe Arpaio. Unless you are just one of his followers? (He seems like a wanna be Hitler)

Wendysue
Wendysue

This is just one of the many unbeleivable acts of terrorism these officers were involved in. They have arrested and killed people that were unarmed, by restraining, suffocating and beating them, even people that they arrested for loitering! What is going on in our country that allows such violent acts to go unpunished? Write Washington D.C., Write your congressmen, keep emailing the UCLA and any other large human rights groups, and don't forget PETA since this case involves the torchure of a little puppy! If you are as outraged as I am, don't sit back and do nothing but write on this message board..We have work to do!

Skeptical Scott
Skeptical Scott

Judging from the number of times it's mentioned by the writer, it seems the worst thing that happened was the death of the dog. I'll counter that by saying how did the deputy know that they dog wasn't going to latch onto him? It's perfectly reasonable in that mayhem to want to stop the dog. Was the dog charging or was he trying to escape? Judgment call for the deputy and the deputy very reasonably chose for his personal safety.

John Dog-herty is about as much of a journalist as Bill O'Reilly. Get it? DOG-herty! :-)

I also just noticed his story quotes a neighbor as saying "There are clear indications that these young people living in an upscale rental home might have been engaged in some serious criminal activity." The writer undermines the foundation of his own argument by quoting someone stating that these people might be engaging in "serious criminal activity." Serious criminal activity would justify a serious law enforcement response. Does the writer not piece that together?

The writer is a troll whose sole purpose seems to be writing a hatchet piece on Joe A.

rick
rick

i lived 1/3 of my life in phoenix and could not be more ashamed of the city than i am now.the sherrif needs to be impeached to get him out of office and a impartial civilian investigation reporting to the grand jury should be started.some people in law enforcement need to wake up and smell the coffee,,the people in phoenix should not tolerate these actions by anyone much less law enforcement

Ice cold Kool-aid
Ice cold Kool-aid

Mmm..keep drinking the yummy, ice cold Kool-Aid that the Phxnewtimes is serving you. Hey, Justin Delfino, MAN UP, dude! Your comments make you sound like a wuss. I'm sure you'll sue, claiming you were mentally tortured by what you supposedly saw. Good grief!

Pale Rider
Pale Rider

Sheiff Joe Arpaio must resign now and go to every house in that neighborhood to apologize.

Donnie Davison
Donnie Davison

Down, Boy! Down, Boy! WOW, what a spirited tirade!! Have some hard feelings going on here, do we? I do have some questions: in spite of all else (and it DOES sound like mistakes were made . . .), has anyone thought to kindly suggest to the unfortunate neighbor whose house was raided that he, himself, may have avoided some unnecessary endangerment to the neighborhood if he had responded initially to the verbal summons of the police? I have no doubt it was the most fearful of situations, but did hiding in the attic help to resolve things any sooner? That's not exactly considered to be the expected behavior of an innocent, in many circles. Should the sheriff's personnel always assume that some nice fellow inside is going to invite them in for tea and cookies while they talk things over? Would YOU??

Lulu Pickle
Lulu Pickle

According to Gene Delfino, "You don't go hunting for deer with a tank."

Cheney does.

David Greiman
David Greiman

Wow... Let's hope they don't do stuff like that in my county (Gila).

Bill Mammele
Bill Mammele

I don't know about Arizona but in Virginia if I were to assault a police dog the local PD considers that FELONY assault, not animal abuse! It's considered just as if the police dog was a regular member of the force. Why the different treatment, because I guess it's ok to kill "one of our own" if it's a dog! This is total BS.

 
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