Update: Charges have been upgraded for the man whose dogs attacked two children, killing one and leaving the second seriously injured.
Original story: A boy was killed and a girl was injured early Tuesday in a pit bull attack on their way to school, Atlanta police said.
Logan Braatz and Syari Sanders, students at F.L. Stanton Elementary School, were walking to a bus stop in the 1200 block of Gideons Drive in southwest Atlanta when they were mauled, police and school officials said.
While the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office has not officially identified the children, relatives of the victims released names and photos to Channel 2 Action News.
They were taken to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston with serious injuries.
Logan, 6, was later taken to Grady Memorial Hospital’s trauma unit, where he died. Syari was still at Egleston in stable condition, Atlanta Public Schools spokeswoman Kimberly Willis Green said. Syari’s family told Channel 2 she is alert and conscious.
“We’re still trying to evaluate to figure out what really happened,” Atlanta police Sgt. Warren Pickard said.
Police are certain two dogs were involved in the deadly attack. The dogs’ owner, Cameron Tucker, was arrested on two misdemeanor counts of reckless conduct, Pickard said. His first court appearance is schedule for 9 a.m. Wednesday.
“Any additional charges will be determined by the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office,” he said.
Logan’s uncle, Andy Brasley, told Channel 2 that the 6-year-old “was everything anyone would want in a child.”
“He meant and still means the world to every single person he's ever touched in his life,” Brasley said, “because all he ever wanted was to make a friend.”
Other children were cornered by the pit bulls until a neighbor scared the dogs away.
One of the children, 7-year-old Mason Williams, said one of the dogs bit onto the hood of his jacket before attacking his cousin Syari.
“I looked down and I saw a brick,” he said. “Then I picked it up and that's when the dogs started running at me. And then (one of them) knocked me down.”
Williams and the rescued children tried to help their friends.
“We had some brave kids,” Pickard said. “Some kids ran back to the scene to try to pull the dogs off the children that were injured.”
Area residents responded quickly to try to help Logan and Syari, too.
Angie Smith, a witness to the attack, said she ran to assist Syari. The girl was wearing a jacket and carrying a book bag, Smith said.
“I looked down at her to see what I could do for her,” Smith said. “And when I looked at her, I knew that there was nothing I could do.”
Shamonta Clayton, a neighbor of the children, said he woke up this morning to screams and ran outside to find them in bad shape.
“As I get to the end of the street, I see (one) child’s unconscious body laying in the middle of the street,” Clayton said.
He noticed another dog and followed it, finding the children cornered near the porch.
“So I chased the dog away from the kids, and I noticed the second child, a little boy, his unconscious body laying down in the grass,” Clayton said.
The dog circled back to the child and Clayton said he chased the dog off with his gun.
“I picked the child’s body up because his mom couldn’t do nothing but sit there and just cry,” Clayton said.
Fulton County Animal Control took one dog into custody. An officer shot and killed the other dog, Pickard said.
“Our officers couldn’t get control of it in a manner that he felt safe,” he said. “So our policies and procedures allow us to act in that capacity.”
Atlanta Public Schools sent a crisis team to Stanton Elementary to provide grief counseling for students and staff, Willis Green said.
Neighbors told Channel 2 they’ve seen the dogs roaming the area before, but they hadn’t attacked anyone.