UPDATE: Deputy kills dog involved in deadly attack
JEFFERSON COUNTY (KATV) – Authorities telling Channel 7 that one of the pit bulls involved in the attack that killed Detrick Johnson, 36, is dead. Monday morning the dog reportedly returned to C.J’s Garage, where the attack happened.
A deputy said the dog showed signs of aggression and that’s when he shot the dog. Another pit bull, which was not originally accounted for was seized from the property. No formal charges have been filed against the owner.
A man was killed this morning in Jefferson County after being attacked by a pack of pit bulls.The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office identifies the victim as De’trick O. Johnson, 36 of Pine Bluff. The owner of the dogs and the property where the attack happened, is John Chester Smith, 63.
Authorities said just before 10:00 a.m. a group of seven pit bulls charged underneath a fence, then started mauling Johnson.
Police say the incident happened at C.J.’s Garage at 300 North Thomas Road in Jefferson County.
Pine Bluff man mauled to death by group of pit bulls, one still at large
PINE BLUFF, Ark. (KTHV) – The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office stated that a man was mauled to death by a group of pit bulls outside of CJ’s Garage at 300 Thomas Road Saturday morning.
According to officials, the first deputy arrived on the scene to find 36-year-old De’Trick Johnson of Pine Bluff under attack from seven pit bulls. When one of the dogs attempted to attack the deputy, he was forced to taze it. The dog wasn’t fazed by the tazer, so the deputy was forced to shoot it. Reports state that more law enforcement along with Animal Control arrived on the scene to break up the attack. They killed three of the dogs and captured two. Officials are still searching for the one pit bull that escaped.
According to Pine Bluff resident Tom Calvert, his daughter drove up on the scene and saw Johnson attempting to fight off the dogs. She then called him to come for help.
“My daughter called, and she was upset saying ‘Dad, come down to CJ’s Garage! There’s dogs chewing this man up,” said Calvert.
Calvert told THV11, that as he drove up on the scene he saw one of the pit bulls charging at a deputy. The officer then shot the dog causing the rest of the pack to scatter.
“It’s hard to describe, the man was just chewed up. The dogs just mauled him like a pack of wolves attacking someone,” added Calvert.
Johnson was pronounced dead at the scene, according to reports.
Neighbors react to Pine Bluff pit bull attack
PINE BLUFF, Ark. (KTHV) – “They’re vicious dogs. They really are,” Roger Frazier explained. Etched into his memory, it is an experience he will probably never forget. “Five of the dogs, the pit bulls came under his gate and just tore me up,” he continued.
Just months ago, Roger Frazier says he was attacked by a pack of pit bull terriers at CJ’s Garage in Pine Bluff. He said, “I struggled along the fence to one of those wooden fence posts and got on top of it and got into a tree. That’s the only thing that saved me.”
He managed to get away.
But 36 year-year-old De’trick Johnson did not. Frazier continued, “I knew this was going to happen. I said those dogs are going to kill somebody.” Police say Johnson was attacked and killed by seven of the pit bulls.
Family of Man Killed in Pit Bull Attack Wants Justice
– Ken Buffa, Reporter – 3/23/15
Family says Detrick Johnson not only was an uncle, a companion and a friendly man, but he was also innocent. Family wants Johnson not only to be remembered but also want his death to not have been in vain.
Amiki Johnson cannot hold back the emotion as she holds a photo of her brother.
“He was just trying to get his car fixed he didn’t deserve to die like that,” said Amiki.
Jefferson County Sheriff Deputies say Saturday morning Johnson went to CJS garage on Thomas Rd. to get his car fixed before work.
While outside, Johnson was killed by eight pit bulls who witnesses say crawled under the shop’s fence and attacked him.
“I dropped to the floor because I couldn’t believe it,” said Amiki.
Deputies along with Pine Bluff Police killed five of the dogs and the remaining three are being held at the Pine Bluff Animal Control Center.
Family of man killed by pit bull attack seek justice
According to Johnson’s family, Johnson was mauled to death by 7 pit bulls while trying to get his car serviced.
Johnson’s younger sister, Akimi Johnson, told Channel 7 that family and loved ones want something done about it.
“I was at work and I received a phone call saying that I needed to come down to the garage because something had happened to my brother,” Johnson said. “I am not here to put down anyone’s dogs. I was not prepared for what happened to my brother. I believe the dogs should have been tied up. If anyone goes to a garage to receive service, they should not be fearful or have to run and be afraid because dogs are a-loose. I would like to see something done.”
Johnson’s friend of 14 years, John Smith III is also taking Johnson’s death hard. Smith and [De’trick] Johnson lived together.
“Ain’t nothing more important than a precious life being taken. If you are not educated about the pet that you have you don’t need the pet no way,” Smith said. “He [De’trick] said, ‘Well you know… C.J. told me to come down there so he could fix the car first thing in the morning.’ So I told him to go on down there so he can get finished with it… then I said call me.”
Unfortunately, Smith never got that call. Instead he got a call from John Chester Smith, 63, the owner of C.J.’s garage, who is also Smith’s father.
“You are my dad. I love you. De’trich, I love him too. But it’s one thing about it, you [John Chester Smith] are going to need to be held accountable for the decision that you made,” Smith said. “I didn’t fool with those dogs and I wasn’t aware that he had that many dogs, but I knew he had a couple of them. I didn’t know they were that vicious. “
According to Smith, Johnson put up a good fight.
“He did jump on the car and the dogs actually jumped on the car with him because the mud is still on the car when we brought it home,” Smith said. “You can see the scratches where the dogs… they had to have had a hold on him. Then it looked like he had took off running.”
2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Pack of Pit Bulls Kill Man in Jefferson County, Arkansas
UPDATE 04/22/15: Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney, Kyle Hunter, filed criminal charges against the owner of a pack of pit bulls that horrifically mauled a man to death on March 21. John Chester Smith, 62-years old and the owner of C.J.’s Garage, was charged with manslaughter, a Class D felony Tuesday. Maj. Lafayette Woods Jr., spokesman for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, said his office is still waiting on the arrest warrant. They plan to arrest Smith on Friday.
03/26/15: Interview with Woods
Major Lafayette Woods, spokesman with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, explains part of the history of the attacking pit bulls owned by John Chester Smith in an extended interview with THV 11 (scroll to see second video). He explains his department’s actions following biting incidents at C.J.’s Garage as recently as March 15 and in July 2014. The March 15 victim was uncooperative, Woods states. Other victims of these same dogs never reported the biting incidents, Woods said.1
Woods was quick to point out in the very first press release that the horrific mauling death of De’Trick Johnson, “furthers the stigma of pit bull terriers as aggressive and dangerous animals” and that in his “personal experiences” pit bulls “are just very loyal.”2 Woods adds in the recent extended interview, “I don’t want to alienate the breed. It’s not necessarily the breed, its the animal’s owners who irresponsibly ignore these signs of aggression in these dogs,” he said.
Woods, apparently, has never reviewed national fatal dog attack statistics, which clearly show that pit bulls kill more people than all dog breeds combined. His anecdotal “personal experiences” are simply that — anecdotal “personal experiences” — ungrounded in statistical reality. Woods fails to acknowledge that many well-raised family pit bulls unpredictably attack and kill family members as well. Woods is a pit bull apologist who also holds the duty to protect the public from harm.
De’Trick Johnson, 36-years old, was killed by a pack of pit bulls belonging to John Chester Smith, the owner of C.J.’s Garage. Johnson had driven to the business to have his car serviced. When he exited his vehicle, seven pit bulls tore through the bottom of the garage’s front gate and savagely attacked him. It is unknown how long Johnson was being mauled before the first 911 call came in, which lasted from 5 to 8 minutes, according to different media reports. He was pronounced dead on scene; the initial cause of death was listed as “massive trauma.” Johnson’s life partner, John Smith III, is the son of the dogs’ owner. Smith said there were multiple victims of these dogs before Johnson’s death. Family members had warned his father to “get rid of those dogs,” Smith said. Eight months earlier, the pit bulls had escaped the property in the same way and attacked man who fled by climbing up a tree. On April 22, authorities charged John Chester Smith with felony manslaughter in connection to Johnson’s death. [source citations]
American Pit Bull Terrier
The ‘bull and terrier’ type was originally developed in England in the early 19thcentury. The lineage goes back to the mastiff / molosser types, including what we now call the Olde English Bulldogge, that were used for bear-, bull- and horse-baiting from the 12th through the 18th century. This isn’t the bear-baiting we think of today, when hunters feed bears in order to bring them out in the open to shoot them. Rather, the bear, bull or horse was confined in a public arena where the mastiff ‘bulldogs’ would slowly tear them apart alive for the public’s amusement1,2,3,4,5.
The popularity of this ‘sport’ declined as education became more emphasized in urban society of the Industrial Revolution and literacy among the population grew (from about 30% in the 17th century to 62% by 1800)6. The ‘sport’ was banned altogether by Act of Parliament in 1835.
The lovers of blood ‘sports’ turned to dogfighting to satisfy their fancy, breeding the large, mastiff-type bulldogs to smaller working terriers to get dogs both smaller and more agile, easier to keep and to hide, but just as willing to attack and fight to the death. With the rise of the kennel clubs and the desire to distinguish dogs by looks and pedigree as well as by performance, this ‘bull and terrier’ type eventually divided into many official breeds. They all share the same ancestry and function, distinguishing themselves mostly by slight differences in appearance.
The American Pit Bull Terrier is, like all the ‘bully’ breeds, one of this group of descendants of the British ‘bull and terrier’ type fighting bulldogs. Once imported into the United States, it was bred up to be bigger again, and again used in baiting animals and in dogfighting. The American Kennel Club (founded 1884) was unwilling to register these fighting dogs, so in 1898 the United Kennel Club was founded specifically to register working pit-fighting dogs and to promote dogfighting. In order to be registered, a dog had to first win three pit fights7,8,9. The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) became a ‘breed’. As dogfighting declined in popularity in the 1930s and 1940s, Colby (the most famous and prolific breeder of these dogs) began to search for a new market and began promoting the APBT as family pets10,11. This despite the fact that his breeding lines included child killers12.
The APBT is of medium intelligence, and it is athletic. They have plenty of energy and exuberance for life. They are affectionate companions are often referred to as a “nanny dog”, which leads many families to believe that they are suitable companions for children. Many can live happily with children and never have an issue, but there are many cases of the family pit bull suddenly attacking or killing a child in the household. The Pit Bull advocacy group BADRAP recently retracted their original “nanny dog” statements (https://www.facebook.com/BADRAP.org/posts/10151460774472399)13.In 2013 and 2014, in the United States, 27 children were killed by Pit Bulls and their mixes. Most of these children were killed by family pet pit bulls that had never been neglected or abused and had always loved the child. As with all breeds, the traits needed for their original tasks remain in the dogs – in this case, the sudden explosive aggression that was necessary to survive in the fighting pit. An APBT may never show this aggression, but if it does there will be no warning and the attack will not be easy to stop. Extreme caution should always be taken when this breed interacts with children. They are fun loving dogs that have “clownish” behaviors. Despite, their many positive qualities, this breed may not be suitable for everyone. Their high energy requires a family that can accommodate and appreciate this aspect of their personality. They usually do best with active families. Many American Pit Bull Terriers get calmer as they age and an older dog may work for a more reserved family.