A Pine Bluff, Detroit, man was brutally mauled to death on Saturday morning by a pack of 7 pit bulls that escaped under the fence at C.J.’s Garage at 300 North Thomas Road, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office reports.
The victim was identified as De’trick O. Johnson, 36, by the Sheriff’s department. The incident occurred just before 10 a.m. as Johnson stood outside the gate waiting for the business owner to arrive.
KATV states that the dogs and the property belong to the 63-year-old garage owner, John Chester Smith.
Local resident Thomas Calvert told THV11 that he drove to the scene after being called by his daughter and told to bring a gun. He said that the victim was lying face down at the side of the road and was “chewed up” and appeared to be dead at that time.
"The dogs just mauled him like a pack of wolves attacking someone," Calvert said, adding that, although the man was screaming for help, nobody was able to do anything until law enforcement personnel arrived.
Deputies report that one of the pit bulls charged the patrol car of the first officer on the scene. The deputy attempted to deter the dog with a Taser, but it had no effect. The deputy therefore had to shoot the dog to ensure the safety of officers, the public, and emergency response personnel.
The sheriff’s deputies called in Pine Bluff police and animal control to help because of the aggressiveness of the dogs, KATV reports.
Pine Bluff Animal Control was also unable to subdue the dogs with a tranquilizer gun. The two that were finally captured with animal-control devices were taken to Pine Bluff Animal Control.
Thomas Calvert said that the police had been called a number of times before about the dogs at the garage.
An employee of the business next door to C.J.’s Garage said that the owner had the dogs at the business “to keep it from getting robbed.” His son told THV11 that there is an opening at the bottom of the fence which allowed the dogs to escape.
Of the seven dogs, KATV reports that four were shot, two were captured, and one escaped on Interstate 530.
An immediate problem is that the pit bull is still at large in the community and based upon the dog’s behavior, there is reason to believe it could be dangerous.
Officials are urging anyone who sees the tan and white pit bull, which weighs about 65 pounds, to report the location of the dog to the non-emergency Sheriff's number in Jefferson County at (870) 541-5300.
Major Lafayette Woods of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office told reporters that, because of prior complaints and warrants, it is likely that the owner of the dogs will be charged, and they are currently working with the 11th Judicial West Prosecuting Attorney's Office.