Officers injured by city man, dog
Three patrolmen hurt when responding to domestic dispute
Three police officers were injured by a city man and his dog late Tuesday after responding to a domestic dispute, according to Altoona police.
Just before 11 p.m. Altoona police were dispatched to 229 21st Ave. and encountered a woman and her daughter outside the home. Locked inside the home was the woman’s husband, 25-year-old Andrew T. Booker, who police said refused to respond to officers who were knocking on the door so they could talk with him about the situation.
The woman told police that Booker was upset with his wife for returning from work late and that he had been drinking. At one point, Booker allegedly grabbed his wife and daughter as he was screaming at them.
According to the charges, Booker’s wife gave officers permission to go inside so they could talk with him, and she gave them a key to the back door. When officers walked inside the house, Booker allegedly berated them and told them to get out and said they had no right to be there.
The officers told Booker they only wanted to talk with him about the domestic dispute, but he shouted obscenities at the officers.
While several officers were outside talking to Booker’s wife — who agreed to leave for the night with her daughter after she took their dogs inside — Booker allegedly stood up from the couch where he had been sitting and said he was walking to the kitchen.
Police told Booker to sit back down so they could keep control of the scene and ensure Booker couldn’t grab a knife or anything else in the kitchen that he could use as a weapon, police noted in the charges.
Booker sat down, but he soon stood again and said he was going to the kitchen. When an officer stepped in front of him to block his path, Booker allegedly shoved the officer and tried to get by him.
Police said officers then tried to restrain Booker, with one officer picking him up by the waist and carrying the 5-foot-9, 180-pound Booker through the kitchen and into another room where he was slammed to the floor, according to the charges.
When he was told he was under arrest, Booker stood up and began to fight with officers. Police said as one officer tried to grab him, Booker started punching Patrolman Dennis Tymensky about the face and chest. After Booker was taken to the floor a second time and hit with pepper spray, a dog that police said is a mix of black Labrador retriever, boxer and pitbull, got into the room.
The dog, named Oliver, became aggressive with police and attacked each of them one at a time.
According to police, Patrolman Erik Stirk suffered a minor bite to his forearm while Patrolman Nicholas Tartalone received a more serious bite to his right triceps.
Police pointed out that Booker could be heard on body cam footage laughing and “even egging the dog on by saying such things as, ‘Yeah, get ’em.'”
After Booker’s wife grabbed the dog, police continued to try to place Booker under arrest, but he continued to struggle with officers until they were finally able to get him handcuffed, police said.
Apart from the injury from the bite, Tartalone suffered a broken bone in his hand, police added. Stirk, Tymensky and Tartalone were all treated for their injuries at UPMC Altoona. A headset radio and two uniforms were damaged in the incident as well.
Booker is now charged with multiple counts of aggravated assault along with misdemeanor counts of simple assault, criminal mischief, recklessly endangering another person and resisting arrest.
Bail was set at $40,000 cash by Magisterial District Judge Daniel DeAntonio, and Booker remains in Blair County Prison with a preliminary hearing slated for Aug. 14.
Mirror Staff Writer Greg Bock is 946-7458.