The Pittsburgh Police lost one of it's finest this past week.
Police plan to review surveillance footage of a fatal encounter between two Pittsburgh police officers -- one of them a K-9 officer -- and a Knoxville man with a history of arrests.
Cameras outside a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center facility on the border of Knoxville and Mt. Oliver might have captured the Tuesday evening shooting that left Justin James Jackson, 19, dead.
Jackson died from a gunshot wound in the head and one in the chest, the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office said. The K-9 officer's dog, a 6-year-old German shepherd named Aulf, died of chest wounds at a veterinary hospital.
"This needs to stop. The police are using excessive force and killing young black men," said the victim's father, Donald Jackson of the West End. "It doesn't make sense. This is terrible, and I want answers."
Fellow officers identified the K-9 officer as Christian A. Sciulli, 34, an 8-year veteran. Police spokeswoman Diane Richards refused to confirm his identity and would not identify the second officer.
Both officers were placed on paid administrative leave while authorities investigate, which is standard procedure in police-involved shootings.
"They had a horrendous night. They have taken a life and lost a partner," police Chief Nate Harper said during a late-afternoon news conference Wednesday.
Sciulli had never shot anyone on the job before, fellow officers said.
The District Attorney's Office and county police are investigating.
Donald Jackson said witnesses told him his son did not have a gun, and family members said Justin Jackson was not known to carry one.
Court records show Justin Jackson had an arrest record on offenses including firearms violations, simple assault and criminal conspiracy. His last arrest was in April 2007, when he was 18, accused of simple assault and a firearms offense. In that case, he pleaded guilty to simple assault and was sentenced to six to 18 months. Records do not show whether he served any jail time.
Donald Jackson said his son was trying to turn his life around.
"He was a good kid," he said. "He had some trouble as a juvenile, but he was trying to change things. Everyone makes mistakes when they're young, but he didn't deserve this."
Justin Jackson was working in construction and studying for his driver's license exam, his father said.
"Justin was a happy, normal kid," said his aunt, Scheryl McCoy, 32, of East Liberty. "I'm speechless that this happened. I just don't know what to say. They shot him because of a dog."
The flag outside police headquarters in the North Side flew at half-staff, and some officers wore a black band over their badges to signify they are mourning a fallen officer. Police are planning a memorial service and burial for Aulf on Saturday.
Harper called the shooting "an unfortunate" but justifiable action.
"The officers acted within the guidelines of policy and procedures," he said.
Sciulli and another officer, both in uniform, were driving on Arlington Avenue in a marked police car to respond to a report of shots fired when they spotted Justin Jackson, police said. They stopped because they believed he was carrying a gun, Harper said.
Sciulli ordered Aulf to attack after Jackson pulled a .357 Magnum handgun from under his shirt, police said.
Harper said Jackson began "firing at the officers, and the police officers returned fire."
Investigators initially believed that the officers opened fire after Jackson began shooting at the dog.
"They did not realize that the dog had been shot" until Jackson and the dog lay mortally wounded, Harper said.
The officers and Justin Jackson fired several shots, investigators said.
Aulf was shot in the front legs and chest and pronounced dead on arrival at a veterinary hospital.
"The bullet retrieved from the K-9 was consistent with a .357 (Magnum)," Harper said.
The gun Jackson was carrying had been reported stolen in a 2006 burglary in Elliott, the chief said.
The department has 17 dogs and 12 protective bullet-proof vests that are rotated among the dogs, said K-9 Sgt. Chris Micknowski. Aulf, a 75-pound dog, was not wearing a vest because the dogs normally are outfitted with them only when being sent into situations the officers know are dangerous. A vest weighs about 15 pounds, Micknowski said.
"The vests are very heavy and generate a lot of heat on the dogs," Micknowski said. "They aren't something we put on the dogs and leave on them because it wouldn't be practical. If we know we're sending the dog into a situation that is high-risk, we'll put a vest on them. That wasn't the case here. This happened so quick. There was no warning."
Richards said Aulf had been with the city police department for about five years. His first handler had him for about two years and Sciulli since then.