By Alex Zdan, The Times
Two police officers were injured and a pit bull shot in the head during a foot chase of an alleged crack cocaine dealer on Walnut Avenue Thursday morning, police said.
Two detectives from the Trenton Anti-Crime (TAC) unit were driving on the 100 block of Walnut Avenue when they saw 30-year-old Abdul Tatilla of East Orange allegedly involved in an apparent drug transaction with a woman.
Tatilla bent down and placed a baggie allegedly containing crack cocaine in his right sock, police said. When the detectives approached him, he allegedly elbowed one in the face before taking off running, police said.
“The arrestee kept striking the detectives several times about the face and body,” police spokesman Sgt. Tom McDonough said, before he ran up Walnut toward Monmouth Street.
Backup officers converged on the scene as Tatilla ran into an open doorway further down the block and tried to slam the door on the detectives before he ran out of the house into the backyard. One of the detectives was able to follow him, but Tatilla allegedly tried to hide behind a large pile of chopped wood in the backyard, police said.
The detective found Tatilla, and Tatilla allegedly began fighting with the detective. At that moment Detective Eliezer Ramos ran up Morton Alley on the other side of the fence from the two men. He tried to get over the fence and into the yard, but a large black and white pit bull came at him, police said.
With the dog displaying signs of aggression, Ramos shot it once in the head and the dog ran away. Ramos was then able to get into the yard.
Tatilla continued struggling until other officers arrived and took him into custody, police said.
The dog survived the bullet wound and did not need medical treatment.
Officers recovered the crack cocaine and $367 cash from Tatilla. Police said they believe the money to be cash from drug sales.
One of the TAC detectives suffered a broken right hand and a laceration to his chin, while the other sustained brushing to his left hand and thumb.
Tatilla was sprayed with pepper spray during the struggle but did not need to be treated at a hospital. He was charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, burglary, and multiple drug offenses.
Internal Affairs detectives were called out to investigate the shooting of the pit bull, as is the procedure any time an officer discharges his weapon.