Caldwell Co. country store owner arrested after withholding video providing context of beloved dog’s shooting

‘Gentle giant’: Dog shot, killed outside store during suspected robbery in Caldwell County
‘Gentle giant’: Dog shot, killed outside store during suspected robbery in Caldwell County(WBTV)
Updated: Apr. 17, 2021 at 2:09 PM EDT
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COLLETTESVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) - The owner of a Caldwell County country store was arrested for withholding surveillance video evidence after a beloved dog was fatally shot.

The dog, “Rocky,” described as a mascot of sorts at Betsey’s Olde Country Store in Collettsville, was shot and killed by a man on March 28.

Joshua Wayne Hawley took off but was later found and admitted to shooting the dog. He was charged with felony cruelty to animals and was given a $10,000 bond.

He then accused the dog of attacking him first before pulling the trigger on the gun.

The store’s owner, Bruce Morrison Gray, and Rocky’s owner Erica Penley told WBTV that a surveillance video of the shooting happened when a man drove up. got out of his car and shot the dog.

However, Gray was arrested for withholding video evidence of the incident. He was taken to the Caldwell County Detention Center under a $20,000 bond.

Deputies said Gray bonded out of jail.

A new video surfaced, appearing to back Hawley’s claims, according to the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office.

“The video revealed that the dog, Rocky, charged and lunged aggressively at Joshua Wayne Hawley at which point Hawley shot the dog,” according to a release posted on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.

Gray, the owner of Betsey’s, had the video but didn’t turn it over to investigators, according to the department. As a result, Gray has been arrested and charged with felony obstruction of justice. He is being held under a $20,000 bond.

Bruce Morrison Gray
Bruce Morrison Gray(Caldwell County Jail)

**Update- Further investigation revealed that Rocky was not on the porch resting when he was shot and that he had gotten...

Posted by Caldwell County Sheriff's Office on Monday, March 29, 2021

Three weeks ago, the residents of Caldwell County and beyond were heartbroken to learn of Rocky’s death, and how he had been shot.

Rocky the Rottweiler could often be seen lounging around the store, greeting customers. That changed March 28 after he was shot and killed outside the store.

“Why would somebody hurt that gentle giant? I don’t understand,” said Erica Penley, one of Rocky’s owners in a previous interview with WBTV’s Ron Lee.

*****News Release***** More information has become available in reference to the incident on March 28th,2021 in which a...

Posted by Caldwell County Sheriff's Office on Friday, April 16, 2021

Initial reports said Rocky was resting on the porch when he was killed. Surveillance video later released showed the dog got up from the porch to check out a van that pulled up. A short time later, he’s seen running back, injured and eventually died on the porch.

Hawley was arrested for the crime and given a $10,000 bond.

[Man charged after admitting to shooting, killing beloved dog outside Caldwell County store]

Hawley alleged Rocky had attacked him and that he left after shooting the dog without talking to anyone.

“It appears that the suspects drove up and shot the dog as he was resting on the front porch of the store,” deputies said initially.

This new video, deputies mentioned on April 17, shows the dog “lunging” at Hawley before gunshots were fired, according to the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office.

Gray and Penley wouldn’t speak to WBTV on camera but said they didn’t see any sign of aggression from Rocky in the video just as they said us before. “Rocky was not barking,” Penley said, “Rocky was not showing teeth. Rocky was coming around the store as he always did to greet customers.”

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