Family whose dog was fatally shot at airport said guard overreacted
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A dog owner is desperate for answers from airport authorities after she says her beloved pit bull was wrongfully shot and killed by a security guard at the Honolulu International Airport on Tuesday night.
"It just freaks me out ... that close to gunfire. Me, my daughter, my dog, and my boyfriend," said Leisha Ramos.
When the incident happened, Ramos said, she was sitting in a grassy area near the Inter-island terminal baggage claim, holding her five-month-old daughter in her lap and petting her pit bull while her boyfriend was loading their truck with luggage.
Ramos said she didn't know the area was off-limits to animals and there was a separate area designated for pets in another part of the airport. She said if someone asked them to leave respectfully, they would have.
"He's walking towards us yelling that we needed to go and leave and get this dog out of here or he'll take care of it. My boyfriend tells him, 'Yeah, we're just loading the truck.' And he keeps walking towards us and he's at a pretty far distance and he already has gun out," she said.
Department of Transportation officials deny those allegations.
Ramos said her dog was tied to a tree by a chain but broke free when the guard and her boyfriend got into a verbal argument.
"He starts yelling at my boyfriend. My boyfriend is getting agitated and then next thing you know my dog is shot. And I had him, I was holding him by his collar to even prevent anything," Ramos said.
The family had just moved back to Oahu from the Big Island.
"I trusted the airlines to get my dog here safely so I could bring him home so we could have a good life. And they killed him. They killed him," Ramos said.
Ramos said her dog -- Kaiele -- was fun, loving, and playful and would never hurt anyone.
"I was right behind him and I just dropped because he dropped. And I had her in my arms and I was just holding him and he was just bleeding from his forehead," she said.
Unlike state deputy sheriffs, the security firm at Honolulu International -- Securitas -- doesn't have non-lethal weapons like tasers or pepper spray, sources said.
Ramos wants that to change.
"They should have other ways of handling it. They should have tasers, or a baton, or pepper spray," she said.
Military officials, meanwhile, said the security guard was a civilian police officer for the Army for ten years. He was later fired.
Ramos believes he shouldn't have been carrying a weapon.
"I want them to change their policy about carrying hand guns. They're airport police. They're not real police," she said.
Ramos said the guard overreacted and now she's heartbroken and left without her beloved pet.
"I know his breed is scary but he's not a beast ... he wasn't a monster."
Hawaii News Now contacted Securitas for a response but was told to contact the Department of Transportation. Hawaii News Now is awaiting DOT's official response.
Copyright 2017 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.