English bull terrier shot after attacking several in downtown Roanoke

Published: Mar. 30, 2018 at 1:16 PM EDT
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A bystander shot an English bull terrier after it reportedly escaped through an open door and attacked a woman pushing a toddler in a stroller, dragging her to the ground in downtown Roanoke on Thursday morning.

Witnesses say the loose dog attacked several people and only stopped when shot.

Prior to the dog being shot and before emergency crews could arrive, bystanders took quick action in an effort to stop the attacks.

Lauren Stringer said she had just arrived at the 100 block of Campbell Avenue SW when she saw people running and screaming.

"I wasn't sure what was going on," she said. "It was just scary, terrifying."

Stringer said she saw a man holding his arm.

"Blood was pouring everywhere."

The man who had been bitten is said to have gotten off a city bus after seeing the dog attack a woman with her children in front of Leanore Restaurant.

The dog then turned on the man trying to help the woman, witnesses said.

Stephen Harris, a barber at Mr. Bill's Hairstyles, saw the situation unfold through the front window.

"There was a commotion out front and then we heard a girl screaming, then a man hollering."

He didn't know what exactly to do, so he instinctively ran out the front door. Harris grabbed the dog by his neck, attempting to get the dog off of the man.

"I held him as hard as I could, then somebody started spraying pepper spray."

He then let go.

"From then, I don't know, it's just a blank," Harris explained, his voice trailing off, visibly still shaken.

The dog then ran after the same man it had been latched onto previously; that's when someone reportedly hit the dog with a hammer, witnesses said.

The dog headed back across the street, and a man who was servicing equipment in a nearby shop shot the dog twice.

"We heard the gun go off, which was the citizen putting the dog down," said witness Robert Farrar.

Farrar believes if the different people hadn't jump in to help, the situation could have turned out worse.

Harris said he was just glad he could help as much as he could.

"I had to do something — that dog would have killed that man. I mean it was awful, his hand. I hope he is going to be alright."

Shortly after the dog was shot, fire and EMS arrived and took control of the situation.

Police and Roanoke Fire-EMS had part of Campbell Avenue between 1st and 2nd street blocked off for a period of time Thursday morning.

The scene was cleared by Thursday afternoon.

According to Roanoke Police, the dog, a Bull Terrier, survived the shooting, but was taken to Angels of Assisi to be put down.

No charges have been placed at this time for the dog's owner.

Police say they previously responded to an incident involving the same dog on December 26, 2017. During that incident, the dog ran off its back porch and bit a man on his hand.

The man did not wish to file charges.

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