A Good Samaritan who shot a pit bull that was mauling an 11-year-old boy in Washington, D.C., on Sunday could face gun charges, WJLA reports.
As the unidentified neighbor witnessed three pit bulls biting Jayeon Simon, who was on his bicycle, the man went to fetch his gun, the station reports.
He then shot one of the dogs dead, catching the attention of a police officer in the vicinity. The officer then shot the other two dogs as they continued to maul the boy, who was later hospitalized with severe lacerations.
Area police confirmed the man could be charged with violating gun laws, the Washington Post reports. Even if the gun were legally registered, firing it on a D.C. street is illegal, the paper noted.
However, attorney David Benowitz, a gun law expert, told the Post that making the case stick would be difficult because the attack seemed to happen near the shooter's property line.
The Washington Times also interviewed a defense attorney not involved in the case. Daniel Gross told the Times that if the U.S. attorney’s office were to take up the case, it's not always so understanding toward those who fire weapons to save others.
Gross added that the greatest bearing on the outcome will still likely be whether the gun user was the registered owner. (Lesser charges for unlicensed guns are prosecuted by the D.C. attorney general's office, but bigger charges could elevate the proceedings to the U.S. attorney's office, the Times noted.)
Whatever the outcome, other neighbors expressed outrage over the possibility the man could face punishment for a heroic deed, WJLA reports.