WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Police say two pit bulls attacked several people at the Hechinger Mall in Northeast Washington Saturday. One man was bitten in the face and suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Witnesses describe a sudden and violent attack behind the mall around 11:15 a.m. They say the pit bulls came out of nowhere and moved aggressively toward a woman.
Moments later, a Metropolitan Police officer shot both dogs, stopping the attack.
"They were vicious," says Kelly Booker, a witness. "They were big pit bulls, unleashed."
"It was strange," says Dvonne Harris. "These dogs coming up in the park without no reason. Nobody knew who the owner was."
Harris' friend used a cane to swing at the dogs.
"[The woman] was hollering and the friend of mine was coming to get the dog away from her and he got bit," he says.
"One of the guys was bitten in the chin, arm and the leg," says Booker.
Both dogs ran away wounded after they were shot, but officers grabbed them blocks away.
The dogs - Bear and Strongdog - are back in their L Street home, in the custody of their owner, Devita Lewis, on a 10-day quarantine.
Lewis tells ABC7 she's sorry about the attack.
Lewis says she doesn't know how the dogs got out. She and her family are emphatic that the two pit bulls have not been trained to attack, and are not aggressive.
"The dogs got out the back door," Lewis says. "I could've swore I close the back door."
"You shouldn't have your dog running around because police have the right to shoot them and kill them," says Courtney Shackleford, who lives nearby.
But it's not always pit bulls that attack. Other breeds, like German Shepherds, have been put down by authorities in recent years.
"There's no excuse for it," says Lawrence Davis, who owns a pit bull.
Davis says the breed can be tricky, but that in the end people should be held accountable for their pet's behavior.
"I don't see it just attacking a lady for no reason," he says. "It would attack anyone who steps in the way, so it could have just as well been confused what was right and what was wrong."