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After Shih Tzu Reportedly Poops on Driveway in Wealthy Neighborhood, Dog's Notable Owner Finds Himself Staring Down Barrel of Cop's M&P15 Rifle


"I was terrified."

Matteo Romero. (Image source: Romero's official website)

OK, so your Shih Tzu named Han Solo jumps out of your SUV and proceeds to poop on a nearby driveway.

Next course of action?

For notable American Indian artist Mateo Romero, it was to park his vehicle in the driveway of the Santa Fe, New Mexico, residence and collect his pooch...and the mess it left behind.

Except the homeowner spotted Romero — who stands 6'2", weighs 220 pounds, and was reportedly wearing black shirt with a Shelby Cobra logo — and thought he was a burglar. She then made what police characterized as a "frantic" 911 call.

Matteo Romero. (Image source: Romero's official website) Matteo Romero. (Image source: Romero's official website)

Maria Markus, 60, also got in her own vehicle and pulled it behind the Pojoaque Pueblo painter's SUV, boxing him in. 

Romero said Markus refused to talk to him before police arrived; according to the police report, dispatch advised that the suspect was trying to open Markus' car door and was reaching inside her vehicle.

When the officer arrived on scene, things got scary for Romero.

“I was trying to explain myself. The officer pointed an assault rifle at my legs and gave me verbal instructions to get down on the ground," Romero told KRQE-TV in Albuquerque regarding the Monday afternoon incident. "I was terrified." 

One of Romero's paintings, which have been displayed throughout the U.S. (Image source: Romero's official website) One of Romero's paintings, which have been displayed throughout the U.S. (Image source: Romero's official website)

The gun the officer was holding was a Smith & Wesson M&P15 semi-automatic rifle, Santa Fe Police spokesperson Celina Espinoza told TheBlaze on Thursday. She added that officers choose which weapon to use according to the severity of the emergency call, and this particular instance was a "high-risk, high-priority felony call," which is among the most dangerous Santa Fe police face.

Romero said he was ordered into the back of a police cruiser, underwent questioning, and was freed. No charges were filed, KRQE reported.

While Markus told police her home had been broken into just two months before and she was just trying to be cautious, Romero said she created a dangerous situation and an innocent person will get hurt if what happened to him is police protocol.

Espinoza countered that the neighborhood where the incident took place is often targeted by burglars, given the residents' wealth and the high-priced items the homes can contain, and that "the officer has no idea what situation he’s walking into.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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