MESQUITE — This is a reality check for all dog owners who may be lax in caring for their pets.
"Always have a dog on a leash, just in case something like this happens," Long Bui warned.
Last month, Bui failed to leash his seven-year-old pit bull, Bobo. Nor did he provide adequate fencing at his brother's home in the 2800 block of Hillside Drive in Mesquite.
Bui said he used a deadbolt to lock the gate, but it wasn't enough to keep the pet under control in his backyard.
Underneath the gate handle, a lawn mower was used to plug a gaping hole in his backyard, and another hole let Bobo plow right through.
"All of a sudden, they started chasing him," recalled Bui's neighbor, Angela Payne.
Bobo — traveling in a pack of two other dogs — terrified her nine-year-old son Zachary to the point that he froze while walking in the middle of the street.
Just moments earlier, Mesquite police said Bobo bit a 17-year-old who was trying to escape in an alley.
"It's just ridiculous to me," Payne fumed.
Police said the confrontation ended when Officer Marvin Franklin placed himself between the dogs and little Zach. When Bobo lashed out aggressively, the officer fired four rounds.
Bobo died. His owner is devastated.
"My girlfriend saw Bobo and just broke down. I did too, eventually," Bui said. "It's just really sad."
But little Zach now feels much safer. He called Officer Marvin Franklin his hero.
"He's a very nice man, and he's very helpful to our community," Zach said.
A neighborhood has received a lesson about responsible pet ownership, and Long Bui offered this advice:
"What I've learned is ... always keep an eye on my dog."