One man was arrested and another cited after wildlife officers say the men shot a handgun Tuesday night while in Boot Key Harbor. The shooting spooked a dog aboard their boat that was subsequently run over and killed due to cuts from their vessel's propeller.
Kevin Kyle Sullivan, 35, of Marathon, the passenger aboard the 17-foot Mako center console, was charged with discharging a firearm under the influence of alcohol.
The driver of the boat, Kevin Macaulay, was cited for operating a vessel with no navigational lights.
The incident began while Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers were on patrol in the Looe Key about 8:20 p.m. when they noticed the Mako making it's way back to Boot Key Harbor, said FWC spokesman Bobby Dube. As the FWC officers were preparing to conduct a safety stop in the harbor, they heard a gunshot come from the boat, and then saw a large object go over the bow of the vessel, Dube said.
Thinking they may have witnessed a murder and body being dumped, the officers conducted a felony boat stop with weapons drawn.
Sullivan appeared confused, would not stand, and would not follow directions as officers secured both men and the 9mm handgun that was shot earlier, Dube said. Another FWC officer arrived on scene, and they searched the area before finding "Bailey" a mixed-breed dog, dead in a pool of blood in the water.
The dog didn't appear to have any gunshot wounds and looked more like it had been hit by a car, Dube said.
"It appears the dog got spooked by the gunshot, jumped in the water and they didn't realize it was missing, apparently," Dube said. "The dog most likely got hit by the boat props. We tried to retrieve the dog, but it sank."
Both men said they had not dumped anything overboard, and that's when they realized the dog was missing, according to FWC reports.
Macaulay passed field sobriety tests and told officers he and Sullivan had gone offshore to "shoot some rounds and on their way back, Sullivan fired off a final round. He also explained that the dog was afraid of loud noises and the gunshot scared him off the bow," reports state.
Macaulay was released at the scene. Sullivan was taken to Monroe County Detention Center in Marathon, where he remained Thursday under no bail.