When a dog broke free from its leash during a walk Friday night, its owner had no idea how serious the consequences would be.
After the golden retriever ran in front of a truck, the angry driver hit the brakes, then pulled out a gun and shot the dog's owner.
Peter Harbachuk's leg is sore, but lucky for him, the shooter, who got out of his pickup truck at the corner of 88th Avenue North and 7th Street North, had closed his eyes and aimed downward. His bad shot only grazed Harbachuk's leg before he sped off.
"It aches, especially when I try to get up," said Harbachuk, as he gingerly tried to move his left leg during our interview.
"Right through there," he points to the area where he got shot, just below his knee cap. "Went out the other side and grazed the bone."
Harbachuk still can't believe it happened. He and his wife Annie were walking their freshly-clipped golden retriever Bella down 88th Ave North.
"Walking along and this little dog runs out from these people's houses and wanted to play with Bella and she's very skittish and she bolted," said Annie Harbachuk.
Bella's collar was no longer snug without her heavy coat and she got loose.
"The collar slipped off her head and I grabbed a hold of the bandanna right here," she said, gesturing around the dog's neck.
A truck passed them and stopped at the stop sign at 7th Street North.
"It was a dark-colored F-150 pickup truck, according to the descriptions, a man and woman in their 30's," said Mike Puetz with the St. Pete Police Department.
"I said, please, she was probably this far from the truck and I said, please let me get my dog; I don't want her to get run over," said Annie Harbachuk.
The woman began spewing rapid-firing expletives at the couple.
"F-you!," said Peter Harbachuk, recounting her spewing. "Keep your dog on an F-ing leash, and then she hops out of the truck."
But by now, Annie had Bella under control.
"And I said, ‘listen, everything's cool, ya' know?'," said Peter Harbachuk. "Just get back in your truck."
Instead, the man behind the wheel apparently hopped out and confronted him with a gun.
"He points it at Peter's head," his wife said.
"And I go ‘listen, this does not have to go down like this," said Harbachuk, showing how close the gun was to his body.
"And the guy closed his eyes and fired the gun," said his wife.
"I was calm as a clam," said Harbachuk. "I didn't realize that he was actually going to shoot me."
"I think I've just been shot," he told his wife.
"And I went, ‘Oh my God, you have been shot,'" she said. "There's blood coming down his leg."
Luckily, Annie is a retired EMT and knew what to do until help arrived. The driver left marks in the road after speeding off.
"It could totally happen to you walking your dog," said Peter Harbachuk. "This was totally unprovoked."
Police recovered a 45-millimeter shell casing. Eyewitnesses said the shooter sped away, in what's believed to be a black Ford F-150 pick-up truck.
It should have some sort of scratch damage right behind the driver door. That's where Harbachuk made contact twice with the dog chain, before it sped away.
If you think you spot a truck matching that description, call the St. Pete Police Department.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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