BOSTON (WCVB) — An 11-year-old boy had surgery Wednesday after he was mauled by a dog in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, according to authorities.
Boston police Commissioner William Gross says an off-duty police officer heard the sounds of screaming in the area of Davidson Avenue and Rockfield Terrace at 12:09 p.m. Wednesday, and the officer saw a pit bull attacking the child in the back yard of an apartment building.
According to Gross, the officer intervened and fired his department-issued gun in order to stop the attack from continuing. It is not clear at this time if the dog or child was struck by gunfire, the commissioner says.
The boy was taken to an area hospital by Boston Emergency Medical Services. Gross says the child suffered bites to his neck, arm and groin, and is being treated for “vicious injuries.”
“Thank God the officer was there to intervene because if he didn’t, the dog was going to continue to attack this child,” Gross said.
The family of the boy released a statement Wednesday night, echoing the sentiments of the police commissioner. “The family is grateful for the police hero who rescued our son,” the statement read in part. “God pour out all the blessing on him and his family.”
“We need to be really grateful that a Boston police officer intervened in this circumstance,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins. “There’s an 11-year-old child we are hopeful will make it, but has been harmed significantly. But for the bravery of this officer, we might be having a very different press conference right now.”
Gross says there was another pit bull present during the attack, but that dog was being restrained by a person and did not attack the boy. If the second dog was not restrained, the commissioner said he was “confident” that it also would have attacked the child.
According to Gross, both dogs are being detained by authorities and police have received several calls regarding unleashed dogs in the area where the attack happened.
The officer was taken to the hospital for observation.
No charges have been filed at this time.
The shooting will be investigated by the Boston police Firearms Discharge Investigative Team, which will report to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.
Later in the day, Gross said that police learned the boy and the dog that attacked him live in the same apartment building, but it is not clear if they lived in the same household.
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