A man who fatally shot a Pit Bull as it—and two other dogs--savagely mauled an 11-year-old boy on a bicycle could face charges for violating Washington D.C.'s gun laws.
The young boy, whose name is being withheld, was riding his new bike near his home in the Brightwood neighborhood on Sunday, when he caught the attention of a pack of loose pit bulls.
The dogs immediately began attacking him, sinking their teeth into his arms, legs, stomach and chest, according to the Daily Mail.
A neighbor, who has also not been identified, witnessed the attack, ran into his home, grabbed his handgun and begin to shoot at the dogs, killing one, the Washington Times reported.
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A nearby on-duty D.C. police officer heard the gun shots and ran to the location, where he shot and killed the other two dogs who were continuing to attack the boy, according to the police report.
Although he may have been considered a hero for acting to save the child, the man could now face charges for firing his gun.
Since the neighbor technically fired his gun on a D.C. street, and not on his personal property, he could face up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine, DCist reported on Wednesday.
Ironically, the dog owner who left the Pit Bulls unattended could end up with only a total of $175 in fines after being cited only for having unleashed dogs and for 'menacing people.”
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The boy’s uncle said that all three parties--the boy who was attacked, the man who saved him and the owner of the dogs live in the same block.
The child underwent surgery for severe bite wounds and remains hospitalized. The uncle told the Washington Post the boy had also been shot in the foot.
Gwendolyn Crump, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Department said that the incident, including whether the man legally owned the gun, remains under investigation.
The District boasts strict gun laws and bans semiautomatic rifles and large-capacity magazines, Townhall.com reported in 2011.
One Washington D.C. defense lawyer, David Benowitz, told the Washington Post that it could be difficult to prosecute the man since the incident happened so close to his property line.
However, criminal defense attorney Daniel Gross told the Washington Times that the man could still be charged, 'I've seen cases where people used weapons in defense of others, but the U.S. attorney’s office is not always so understanding,' he said.