The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a fatal dog attack in which a pack of pit bull terriers mauled to death a 36-year-old man.
De’Trick Omar Johnson was fatally attacked by eight dogs at CJ’s Garage in Pine Bluff Saturday morning when he went to the garage to talk to the owner. A neighbor, who witnessed the attack, immediately called 911 for help.
Upon arrival, a Jefferson County deputy encountered one of the pit bull terriers as it immediately charged his patrol vehicle. The deputy deployed his Taser, which had no effect on the dog. The deputy fatally shot the dog.
Additional deputies arrived along with Pine Bluff Animal Control in an attempt to corral the aggressive dogs. Authorities were successful in securing two of the dogs. However, four of the pit bulls were shot and killed and another managed to evade capture.
Deputies were dispatched Monday to CJ’s Garage to follow-up on the sighting of a pit bull terrier that returned to the property after evading capture on Saturday.
Upon arrival, deputies encountered the pit bull, which still showed obvious signs of aggression even days after the mauling and deadly attack on Johnson. The responding deputy drew his service weapon and fired one fatal shot. A second pit bull, which was not originally accounted for was taken into custody and seized from the property without incident. As of Monday, five of the pit bulls had been shot and three captured without incident.
“This incident furthers the stigma of pit bull terriers as aggressive and dangerous animals. However, each dog, regardless of breed, could potentially cause serious injury or death,” Major Lafayette Woods, Jr. said in news release. “Pit bull terriers in general, I have found in personal experiences, are just very loyal. They’re very intelligent but can prove to be lethal weapons if they land in the hand of irresponsible owners, who either promote dog fighting or ignore obvious signs of aggression.”
Formal charges have not yet been filed against John Chester Smith, 63, the owner of dogs and CJ’s Garage. Upon completion of the investigation, a case file to include all evidence will be presented to the 11th Judicial West Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for a charging decision.