An off-duty Charleston police officer shot and killed a pit bull to stop an attack on a 7-year-old boy Monday evening in Goose Creek, authorities say.
The dog, which was accidentally let out of its yard by a child, attacked the boy as he was playing with friends on Clayburne Drive in the Liberty Hall Plantation subdivision.
The off-duty officer told Goose Creek police he was inside his home when he heard loud screams. At first, he figured kids were playing, but their screams grew louder and more frantic.
The commotion sounded like a dog fight, according to an incident report.
The man retrieved a revolver and walked to the side of his neighbor's home, where a pit bull was attacking a boy who was "frantically screaming in pain for help," the report said.
The boy was on his back and bleeding as the dog bit his stomach and side.
The man said he yelled at the dog several times in an attempt to stop the attack. The officer fired five shots after checking that the children were away from the weapon. The dog died at the scene.
The man called 911 and cared for the boy outside his home until EMS arrived. Police said the victim suffered bite marks, bruises and scratches to his side and rib cage. He was transported to an area hospital.
A man who witnessed the shooting told police the officer had no choice but to shoot the animal. Goose Creek Police Maj. John Grainger said the shooting was justified given the circumstances.
The pit bull's owner told police the dog is normally locked up in the yard but his son had opened the gate and accidentally let him out.