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March 11, 2023

Off-duty FBI agent who fatally shot a dog in Center City will not face charges

Jacqueline Maguire, who had been under investigation since the Feb. 21 shooting, has been the top agent at the FBI's Philadelphia Division since 2021

Investigations Shootings
FBI Dog Shooting Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

Jacqueline Maguire, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Philadelphia Division, will not face charges for fatally shooting a pit bull in Center City last month.

The off-duty FBI agent who shot and killed a pit bull near an apartment building in Center City last month will not face charges, the District Attorney's Office said on Friday. 

The District Attorney's Office told 6ABC that the investigation into Jacqueline Maguire, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Philadelphia Division, is closed. The District Attorney's Office did not immediately respond to PhillyVoice's request for comment regarding the decision.

The shooting sparked scrutiny and criticism over Maguire's use of force against the pit bull, who was described by the FBI as an aggressive dog." It remains unclear whether Maguire will face internal consequences, as the FBI's Philadelphia Division declined to comment on its own investigation into Maguire and the shooting. 

Jane Roh, a spokesperson for the District Attorney's Office, told the Inquirer that surveillance footage of the shooting showed that Maguire was sitting on a bench near The Touraine apartment complex with her dog when the pit bull, a 7-year-old named Mia, "rushed forward" and pulled Maguire's dog off of her lap. 

After attempting to intervene, Maguire pulled out her weapon and fired at the dog. Mia and her owner, Maria Esser, were reportedly taken to an emergency medical facility, where the pit bull later died. In an interview with CBS Philadelphia, Esser described Maguire's conduct as unjustifiable.

"There is no justice," Esser told CBS. "My dog has been taken from me. Something that should've been preventable. Something that should've never happened." 

Revolution Philadelphia, an animal rights advocacy group, were among those vocally criticizing Maguire and calling for justice for Mia. Under the FBI's initial tweet about the shooting, the organization responded, "Isn't unauthorized use of deadly force against DOJ policy?"

The Department of Justice's guidelines state that officers "may only use force that is objectively reasonable to effectively gain control of an incident, while protecting the safety of themselves and others." 

Maguire has led the FBI's Philadelphia office since October 2021, when she was appointed by FBI Director Christopher Wray. Maguire, who has previously served as the special agent in charge of the criminal division of the FBI's New York City office, was the lead agent on the investigation into the five hijackers of American Airlines Flight 77 after the 9/11 attacks. 

Maguire earned a degree in comprehensive science from Villanova University in 1996.