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Navy: Guard aims for dog, shoots owner after he tries to enter Balboa hospital

Crime scene tape spans the checkpoint at Naval Medical Center in Balboa Park after guards shot a man who drove through without stopping.

SAN DIEGO — A guard at the Naval Medical Center in Balboa Park shot an 18-year-old man who drove past a security checkpoint Monday evening, though officials say he was actually aiming for the man’s dog.

A U.S. Navy spokesperson said the driver, later identified as Eric Durand of San Diego, refused to stop at the entrance checkpoint around 8:45 p.m.

When guards used a security barrier to prevent the Durand from reaching the base, he made a U-turn and stopped his car back at the checkpoint, where he got out and started yelling at officers, the Navy said.

That’s when “a dog jumped out of the civilian’s vehicle and charged toward security officers,” Navy spokesperson Brian O’Rourke said. “A security officer fired one shot at the dog, which missed, grazing the civilian’s ankle.”

Durand was taken to a hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries and San Diego Animal Control officers arrived to take custody of the dog, which was unharmed, O’Rourke said. Durand was released and cited for trespassing on federal property, and banned from Navy bases.

According to O’Rourke, Durand said he was attempting to visit the nearby San Diego Zoo, which was closed.

Department of Defense police officers and uniformed Navy personnel guard the gates to the medical center, but it was not immediately clear who fired the shot.

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