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Bystander, Pit Bull Shot During Police Chase Of Alleged Drug Suspect In Bushwick

70 Himrod Street, where the shooting occurred. (credit: Sonia Rincon, 1010 WINS)

70 Himrod Street, where the shooting occurred. (credit: Sonia Rincon, 1010 WINS)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — What started as an apparent drug deal and pursuit of a suspect, ended with cops inadvertently wounding a bystander in Brooklyn.

The incident happened Tuesday afternoon in Bushwick.  Police said plainclothes officers witnessed a drug deal and started following a suspect.

The suspect went inside 70 Himrod St. — which neighbors said had seen drug activity in the past — and police followed him before they were met on the street by two pit bulls that were owned by a man in the area, who was fixing a bicycle, 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reported.

1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon With More On The Story

That man was identified by family as 22-year-old James Austin. Isaac Holmes, a neighbor, saw what happened next from across the street.

“He turns around and when he turns around, it’s a guy standing there pointing a gun at him.  At this time, nobody know they detectives,” he said.

Neighbors said Austin was ordered to tie up his dogs, but police said the dogs charged at the detectives and they fired four times at the animals — hitting one of the dogs and Austin in the leg.

Austin was taken to Kings County Hospital in stable condition. Police insisted they were aiming at the dogs and not their owner, 1010’s Rincon reported.

The pit bulls were taken to the ASPCA. It’s not clear how badly the wounded dog was hurt.

The original suspect that police were following has been arrested, authorities said.

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