Family of boy fatally mauled by pit bulls speak out

By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

LEVERETT'S CHAPEL, TX (KLTV) - We first brought you this tragic story Monday, when police say 10-year-old Justin Clinton was attacked and killed by two pit bulls. It happened at around 12:30 in the community of Leverett's Chapel, just south of Kilgore.

"He was all boy," said Becky Long, Justin's Aunt.

"He was full of life and he just made allstars in his softball," said Justin's great-aunt, Carolyn Spence.

He was a bright, athletic little boy who's life was cut short.

"I know we're not supposed to question God, but we don't understand," said Long.

Rusk County sheriff's investigators say Justin was riding his skateboard about a mile down the road to meet a friend, when he was viciously attacked.

"According to witnesses, they observed one of the dogs dragging the child," said Lieutenant Charles Helton, with the Rusk County Sheriff's Department.

"He was just riding his skateboard," said Long. "He wasn't bothering anybody. He wasn't bothering anybody to get this done to him. 10-years-old [and] his life is gone."

Investigators say a good Samaritan passing by jumped in to try and save Justin.

"If those people are watching they are real heroes," said Helton. "One of the ladies actually beat one of the dogs off the child with a skateboard."

"I would like to thank whoever stopped," said Long. "I would like to thank them."

But by that time, it was too late for Justin whose family says loved animals.

"It's just a shame that two dogs could do a child that way," said Spence.

Investigators are interviewing the dogs' owners, who were not at home at the time, but did have the dogs fenced in.

"I do forgive them but they need to be held accountable for this," said Long.

"I think somebody needs to do something about the dogs, the breed," said Spence. "There's too many people getting killed with these dogs."

The pit bulls have been euthanized. Rusk County investigators promise they will do all they can to try and bring some closure.

The Rusk County sheriff's department said they aren't sure if charges will be filed against the owners until their investigation is complete.

Since the attack there has been some confusion on what type of dogs mauled Justin. The dog owners claim that both their dogs were bull dogs but the Rusk County Sheriff Deputies tell us that it's no doubt in their mind that the dogs are in fact pit bulls.

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