Calif. officer saves boy, shoots dog in mauling

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The Capital

A 10-year-old Pasadena boy was mauled by a pit bull and collie yesterday while walking to school with two friends.

Raymond Slaughter, a fourth-grader at Freetown Elementary School, fought off the 8 a.m. attack, punching and kicking the beasts until a county police officer could pull him free and pump two rounds from his .40-caliber SIG-Sauer into the 60-pound pit bull.

"I was fighting back like he was a human being," said Raymond, who suffered several cuts and bites to his mouth, head, shoulder, hands and knees. He was taken to Baltimore Washington Medical Center, where doctors medically glued a facial cut closed. "I thought I wasn't going to survive."

Police said the two dogs - the pit bull was killed and Animal Control eventually tracked down the collie and took it into custody - lived at 254 Whitaker Road, within feet of where the attack occurred. Police charged owners Maria Rosario Alejandre and Arturo Alejandre Miramontes with two counts of creating a public safety threat

by allowing the dogs to run free. Both charges carry a fine of $50.

The owners have given up all rights to the collie. Animal Control plans to euthanize the animal in the coming days, viewing it as too aggressive.

Both dogs were licensed through the county and were up to date on their rabies vaccinations, police said.

Mrs. Alejandre told police the dogs ran away around 11:00 p.m. Monday as she took them outside to their respective doghouses.

Raymond said he had just started walking the half-mile to school with classmate Precious Graham and 8-year-old Davon Hughes when the dogs attacked. He said the collie knocked him down first and then the pit bull started biting him.

"They came out of nowhere," Precious said. "The next thing I knew, Raymond was rolling in the street with the dog."

Fearing for the safety of his friends, Raymond told Precious to take Davon and run while he tried to fight off the dogs. He said Precious kicked one of the dogs before running for help.

Police said Officer Kenneth Edmonds Jr., who already was in the area looking for the dogs, put Precious in his patrol car for her safety and then ran to help Raymond.

As the nine-year veteran of the department drew his weapon and approached, the pit bull ran away, allowing him to put Raymond in a van that had stopped to help.

Gwinn Lee, the driver of the van, said she was honking her horn to scare off the pit bull, but it wasn't doing anything. She said the dog, which came up to Raymond's waist, didn't stop until the officer ran up.

In the melee, Raymond lost his glasses. Robin Butler, his guardian, is currently trying to find them or get a replacement pair.

While covered in blood after the fight, Raymond spent only a couple hours in the hospital.

"The first thing he asked was: 'Do I have to stay home from school?' " Ms. Butler said with a laugh. He explained he didn't want to get behind on his schoolwork.

His teacher, Jessica James, stopped by Raymond's townhouse on Levy Court yesterday afternoon and joked that she can give him extra work if he wants it. She and fellow fourth-grade teacher Nicole Hicks brought dozens of handmade get-well cards from their classes.

Both teachers said Raymond's run-in with the pit bull was the talk of the school and that the police officer stopped by to talk to the class about why he had to shoot the dog.

Police noted that in addition to the criminal charges, the dog's owners could face civil suits. Ms. Butler, however, isn't talking to a lawyer just yet.

"I'm not worried about that. This is what I care about right now," she said, tending to Raymond. She added: "That man needs to be held responsible."

Neighbors say the dogs have been nuisances for almost a year, chasing people around the neighborhood.

"He's loose a lot," said Omarah Johnson, Mrs. Alejandre's neighbor, adding that she saw the pit bull walking free in front of her house as recently as Monday morning.

While the pit bull never got aggressive with her, a woman up the street said the animal chased her and her mother last summer.

"That dog came out on us," said Neci Bennett. She said she had to pick up a stick to scare the animal off.

Ms. Butler said even with the dogs off the street, she's going to have her fiancee take Raymond and the other kids to school.

"They aren't going to walk to school anymore," she said. 

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