Keys man shot three times, dog named Trouble shot once; attempted-murder charge ensues

An argument over a dog Friday night led to a Stock Island man shooting the dog once and another man three times, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office says.

Dwight Engelhardt, 63, is charged with the attempted murder of Charles Whitaker, 55. He was airlifted to Kendall Regional Hospital in Miami-Dade and was in critical but stable condition Saturday morning. The dog, a German pointer named Trouble, was treated for its injury.

Engelhardt is in the Monroe County Detention Center with no bond allowed.

The Sheriff’s Office says Whitaker and Dirk Giagu, 46, rode a dinghy to the Hog Fish Restaurant on Front Street on Stock Island to have a few drinks and brought Giagu’s dog. They tied up next to Engelhardt’s sailboat on which he lives. It was about 7:20 p.m.

After having a beer and some Patron tequila, Whitaker, Giagu and the dog got back onto the dinghy to return to the 3D Marina on Shrimp Road, where they live. But before they left, Whitaker got into an argument with a woman about the dog, Deputy Becky Herrin said. The woman told Detective Bernardo Barrios she made a joking remark about stealing the dog and Whitaker took her seriously, got angry and began to yell and swear at her, Herrin said.

At that point, Engelhardt told Whitaker to leave because he was trespassing, Herrin said. Engelhardt reportedly then went into the cabin of his sailboat, returned with a .380 caliber handgun and began shooting.

Whitaker was struck three times in his groin area; the dog was struck once in the leg. Whitaker, Giagu and the dog then returned to the 3D Marina, after which Whitaker was airlifted out.

Deputy John Allen and Detective David Fernandez found Engelhardt on his sailboat and took him into custody. The gun he reportedly used was on the boat.