A boater accidentally ran over and killed his dog in Boot Key Harbor in Marathon on Tuesday night after the animal got spooked by gunfire and jumped into the water directly in the path of the vessel.
Nearby Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers saw the dog, a mixed-breed named Bailey, go into the water around 8:20 p.m., but apparently the boat driver and passenger may not have known the animal went overboard and that they ran him over.
The vessel operator, Kevin McCauley, and passenger Kevin Sullivan were on the water that night shooting a 9 mm pistol.
They said they didn't realize Bailey was not on the boat until after FWC officers pulled them over and asked what went into the water. The FWC officers thought at first that McCauley and Sullivan dumped a human body off the bow of the boat.
FWC officers found Bailey's bloody, lifeless body floating in the water. The dog did not have any gunshot wounds.
FWC officers determined that McCauley had not been drinking, but Sullivan, who fired the weapon, was drunk. He faces a misdemeanor charge of discharging a firearm while intoxicated, FWC spokesman Officer Robert Dube said.
According to an FWC arrest report, Sullivan said he did not understand his rights, and that he would not speak to officers without his attorney. The officers said he failed a field sobriety test.
McCauley told officers the two were on the water to fire some rounds from the gun. On the way back, Sullivan shot off one more. It scared Bailey, who jumped off the boat as it was moving and was killed.
Sullivan, 35, was a planner for the city of Marathon until last week. City Manager Mike Puto said he was let go by Senior Planner George Garrett, but his dismissal happened before his arrest and was not related.
Sullivan could not be reached for comment. He was released from the Monroe County jail around 4 p.m. Wednesday, according to Monroe County Sheriff's Office records.