Local community mourns 10-year-old's tragic death

By Lakecia Shockley - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

LEVERETTS CHAPEL, TX (KLTV) - Authorities say 10-year-old Justin Clinton was killed after two American Bulldogs attacked him at his friend's house around 1:30 Monday afternoon in the community of Leverett's Chapel. The community is just south of Kilgore, on Don Leverett Road and Texas Highway 42. We spoke with neighborhood parents who are in disbelief that something so tragic could happen to a hometown kid.

"I couldn't imagine it with my kids," said Tammy Apking. "I couldn't. Like I say, it hurts our heart because Justin was a good kid."

Almost everyone in Leverett's Chapel was still in shock after two dogs at a home mauled and killed the 10-year-old boy.

"I was frantic when I found out, and it hurt my heart bad[ly] because...Justin is a neighborhood kid," said Apking.

"I got brother's and sister's, and I would hate to see one of them get hurt like that," said neighbor Josh Wallace.

The attack happened at one of Justin's friend's home - right across from the street from Leverett's Chapel schools.

"I parked my car right there and that's where I picked the girls up," said Catherine McDonald, a parent. "My kids walk to school, but now that this has happened I probably won't let them walk anymore. It's a chance I'm not willingly to take."

"It makes me sick to my stomach knowing that could have been one of my girls. You know? That could have happened during a school year."

Investigators are still trying to figure out why the dogs attacked Justin. Witnesses say a motorist saw the dogs attacking, jumped out of their car and pulled the two dogs off the little boy who just happened to be roaming the neighborhood.

"He swims at our house," said Wallace. "He's pretty much like a neighborhood kid. Everyone knows him. He's like a little brother to everyone here."

He was a neighborhood's little brother, whose life was taken in a vicious attack.

We have learned that the dogs were taken away by Rusk County Animal Control.

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