COLUMBIA — Police fatally shot a pit bull west of Kohl’s Department Store Wednesday afternoon, and one pit bull is still loose, according to a news release from the Columbia Police Department.
At about noon Wednesday, officers were dispatched to the 1300 block of Grindstone Parkway after receiving a report of loose pit bulls and multiple people who had been bitten.
Two brown and white pit bull dogs, male and female, were roaming around the parking lot of Grindstone Plaza, causing customers to panic, witnesses said.
“There were old people crying, running around and hopping onto the hoods of their cars,” said GNC store manager Mark Adamson.
When Adamson, 26, saw a woman chased by the dogs in the parking lot and finally make it safely to the Dollar Tree store, he knew he should try to help the customers in the parking lot.
Standing outside, he pulled out his cell phone and attempted to call the police and animal control.
“That’s when the two dogs came toward me,” he said. “I kind of started high stepping from side to side kind of like what football players do.”
But his maneuver did not divert the dogs’ attention. Adamson said a female pit bull charged him and bit his right calf. He drove to University Hospital to have his injuries examined.
“I spent four and a half hours in the ER room,” he said. “I got some stitches and some puncture wounds. Usually you don’t close up bite wounds, but a part of my leg was showing some muscle. As for the other wounds, I just need to keep them clean, so they don’t get infected.”
While Adamson was at the hospital, he called one of his employees, Sylas Shores, to ask him to take care of the GNC store.
“From what I have heard, he (Adamson) was the hero of the situation,” Shores said. “He would definitely be the person to help others out.”
It took the police and the other units about 20 to 30 minutes to arrive at the scene, Adamson said.
In the meantime, the dogs continued to run loose, and business managers were informed to keep their customers inside.
“After receiving a phone call from a co-worker about the situation and how I should not let anyone out, I went to see what was going on myself,” said Heather Reeves, manager of the Dollar Tree store.
Reeves said she saw a young man being chased near Fuddruckers. The man was finally forced to climb onto the hood of his car.
Although both dogs were reported to be hostile, Reeves noticed that one of them was more aggressive than the other one.
The two dogs then crossed the street and entered the Kohl's Department Store parking lot, where they approached an officer in an aggressive manner, the release states. After the officer stepped back, one of the dogs continued to aggressively approach him. According to the release, the officer then fatally shot the dog.
The second dog ran south from the area and was still loose as of 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. Police said they weren't sure exactly how many people were bitten.
The owner of the dogs, 18-year-old Dakota Crites, was arrested, but charges had not been determined as of Wednesday evening, the release states.
Crites’ house is located about three miles from where the shooting took place.
Columbia Animal Control also responded after receiving numerous calls from residents about the loose dogs.
Health Department Environmental Health Manager Gerry Worley said that such occurrences are infrequent in Columbia, but police sometimes must shoot aggressive dogs while entering drug houses.
Anyone with further information is asked to go to the CrimeStoppers Web site, 875tips.com.