4-year-old boy dies after being mauled by pit bulls in Detroit

Witnesses say dogs dragged boy under fence

DETROIT - A 4-year-old boy died after being mauled by multiple dogs Wednesday in the 15500 block of Baylis Street in Detroit.

The Wayne County Medical Examiner completed the autopsy Thursday, stating the cause of death to be from "multiple puncture wounds."

Xavier Strickland, 4, was walking down the street with his mother, Dolly Strickland, when the neighbor's dogs attacked. Witnesses told Local 4 the dogs dragged the toddler under a fence. They were headed to Thurgood Marshall Elementary School to volunteer.

Yolanda Samuels heard the mother's calls for help and called 911.

"The dog had grabbed the baby and pulled the baby underneath the fence," Samuels said. "When I saw them carrying her baby, all I could do was just grab my baby and say, "Oh, my God. He's lifeless."

Officers rushed Xavier to the hospital, where he later died from his injuries. 

"My life is just torment right now because he's gone," said Dolly Strickland. They bit me first, and I laid on top of my son and was getting ready to run and the big one snatched him from me."

Police shot two of the dogs and were able to capture the others. However, there could be more dogs on the loose.

"The dog that was on top of my son, he had to keep shooting it," said Dolly Strickland. "He shot all of them, the ones that he could."

There were four dogs behind the fence -- a father, a mother and her pups. Police said all of them participated in the mauling.

"The viciousness of these animals, the fact that they removed this child from the mother's grasp and as the mother attempted to fight these dogs off, the dogs took the child and dragged the child to the location behind the fence," said Detroit Police Chief James Craig.

Craig said this case was so ugly that even his officers, who are used to seeing things most do not want to, were severely shaken.

"This is no different than when our officers are dealing with armed suspects," he said.

The chief said counselors will be brought in for the officers.

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