BALBOA PARK — A man who drove past a gate at Naval Medical Center San Diego was injured Monday night when security officers fired at the man's charging dog and missed, grazing the man in the ankle instead, a Navy spokesman said.
The shooting occurred around 8:45 p.m. near the Naval hospital's main gate at Bob Wilson Drive off Florida Drive, Navy Region Southwest spokesman Brian O'Rourke said.
The man apparently drove up to the entrance, and instead of stopping for the guards, continued driving, O'Rourke said. The guards deployed a barrier that stopped the vehicle, the man got out and some sort of altercation ensued.
“The civilian got out of the vehicle in an agitated state, yelling at the security officer,” O'Rourke said in a statement.
The man's dog jumped out of the vehicle and charged toward the guards, the spokesman said. One of the officers “fired one shot at the dog, which missed, grazing the civilian's ankle.”
Medics took him to a hospital with an injury believed to be minor and not life-threatening. The dog was not injured.
O'Rourke said that both Department of Defense police officers and uniformed Navy personnel guard the gates to the medical center and it was not immediately known who was involved in Monday night's incident.
The main gate to the hospital was closed Monday night as authorities investigated.
O'Rourke said he didn't know if the man would face charges. San Diego Animal Control officers took the dog into their custody.
The driver had no business at the hospital or with the Navy and made a statement to officers at some point that he was trying to get to the San Diego Zoo, O'Rourke said.
O'Rourke noted that people sometimes confuse the road up to the main gate of the hospital with a road that leads to the nearby zoo.
“People frequently miss that turn or make the wrong turn and go up the hill and suddenly realize there's an armed guard there,” he said.
He said there are signs posted that tell drivers there is no zoo access from the road.
According to the zoo's website, the animal-care facility closed Monday at 6 p.m.
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