LEXINGTON, S.C. – Lexington County deputies have arrested a Prosperity man accused of fatally shooting a police dog last week when Newberry County deputies and State Law Enforcement Division agents tried to arrest him.

James Robert Peterson, 37, is charged with cruelty to a police dog, breach of peace, possession of a weapon by a person convicted of certain crimes, resisting arrest with a deadly weapon and four counts of pointing and presenting a firearm at a person, according to arrest warrants.

“We began our investigation of this case the day it happened, June 11, at the request of the two agencies involved,” Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon said. “In consultation with Eighth Judicial Circuit Solicitor David Stumbo, we’ve determined these charges are warranted based on Peterson’s actions during the encounter with Newberry County deputies and SLED agents as they attempted to arrest him on a felony warrant on Gravel Road in Prosperity.”

Peterson failed to follow lawful commands and shot SLED K-9 Coba with a shotgun as the dog tried to apprehend him, according to Koon.

“The four counts of pointing and presenting a firearm at a person stem from Peterson pointing the shotgun in the direction of four law enforcement officers after fatally shooting Coba,” Koon said.

Koon said since the incident happened in Newberry County, Stumbo would be prosecuting the criminal charges against Peterson.

Peterson is being held at the Newberry County Detention Center.

As with all criminal prosecutions under the United States Constitution, the defendant is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.