PHOENIX — The hunt is on for a man who shot and killed a leashed dog in a West Phoenix neighborhood.
Cecelia Moreno says her one-year-old golden retriever Ollie was her best friend.
“We went on walks, we went to Starbucks together, we went to visit my mom together, he meant the world to me,” she said.
Her world changed forever when she and Ollie went for a late-night walk around 11 p.m. Monday, December 27. Moreno had walked the trail near 79th Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road many times before. She had Ollie on a leash when she says a man approached her on the sidewalk, and Ollie uttered a protective growl.
“He was trying to protect me, but I had no clue it just all happened so fast,” Moreno said.
In just seconds, she says the man pulled a gun from his waistband and shot Ollie dead in the street leaving Moreno in shock.
“The gunshot was loud, I screamed until the police got there,” she said. “I like immediately fell on the floor with him and there was just blood, and that’s when I knew.“
“I was holding him, I think he was trying to comfort me more in those last few seconds as he tried to nudge me and I was holding him and I was trying to figure out if I could help him but I couldn’t, it just happened so fast,” Moreno said.
Moreno says the man told her he was sorry and quickly walked away.
“This is the first time in my career of 15, 16 years that I’ve ever heard of something like this happening,” said Sgt. Steve Reaume with Silent Witness.
Sgt Reaume is asking for the public's help to find the shooter. He is being described as a Black male, 20 years old, 5’5” tall, and about 140 pounds.
“To have a stranger do something like this unprovoked is unthinkable,” he said.
Moreno says she’s fortunate she wasn’t shot and injured as well.
“I grew up thinking that the world was a happy place until that was taken from me,” Morena said.
Investigators are asking for any information regarding the incident. Silent Witness is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.