LOWELL (CBS) — A 7-year-old boy who was killed in a pit bull attack over the weekend is being remembered as a “vibrant” student.
“We mourn the loss of a vibrant member of the Lowell Public School community who will be greatly missed,” Deputy Superintendent Jeannine Durkin wrote in a statement Monday. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.”
Durkin said the school had reached out to parents, students, and staff to offer counseling and resources for anyone who needed support.
Meanwhile, as the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office investigates, neighbors disagree over just what led to the child’s tragic death.
It happened just after 6 p.m. Saturday outside a home on Clare Street in Lowell. The child was dead by the time police arrived.
The DA’s office said the boy was attacked after entering a fenced in area where the pit bulls were being kept.
WBZ-TV’s Tiffany Chan reports
One neighbor told WBZ-TV’s Anna Meiler the boy was inside the fence because a ball he and several other children were playing with rolled there.
“The kid was playing with a ball, it was about six or seven kids, and the ball went through the fence,” said neighbor Nilda Garcia. “He jumped the fence and the dog grabbed him and killed him.”
But another neighbor says the boy didn’t go inside, and was instead pulled into the fenced-in area by one of the dogs.
“The boy had leaned over the fence like this, ‘Come on, boy,’ and the dog grabbed him and pulled him over the fence,” neighbor Bill Brettancourt said. “The boy did not go in there on his own.”
Several neighbors said they heard yelling and ran over to find a horrific scene.
“Everybody was screaming, nobody knew what to do,” said neighbor David Swiniarski. “Probably 15 people just watching it happen, nothing anyone could do.”
One of the pit bulls got loose, but was found and euthanized a short time later. The other is in the custody of animal control officers.
Michelle Reedy, the aunt of the 7-year-old boy, said the dogs should have been kept away. “They should have been muzzled you know what I mean, or tied up really good,” Reedy said.
Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said the child’s name will not be released due to his age.
“Right now, our thoughts are just with the family of this little boy, the neighborhood, as well as our first responders,” Ryan said Sunday night. “Just a terrible, terrible loss of a child.”
“He loves people and he loves animals, he’s a good kid, he gets all A’s in school,” says Reedy.
Neighbors on the street are shaken and heartbroken by the boy’s loss, and loved ones held a vigil Sunday night to light candles and comfort each other. There was a growing memorial in the yard where the boy died.
“He was a good kid, we do miss him,” one neighbor said. “Hopefully the dogs will be taken care of, we really miss him.”
No charges have been filed at this time.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Doug Cope reports