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Wed May 9, 2012
Las Cruces Police Still Investigating Fatal Pit Bull Attack
Las Cruces Police are still investigating Tuesday’s death of a 15-month-old girl who was mauled by the family’s dog, and what appears to be the accidental shooting of the child’s grandmother by a well-intentioned neighbor who was trying to stop the attack.
Jazilyn Mesa was identified yesterday as being 16 months old but police determined that she was born Jan. 26, 2011, making her only 15 months old.
Jazilyn’s paternal grandmother, Leticia Mesa, 52, was accidentally shot by a neighbor who heard cries for help and was trying to stop the pit bull from attacking the girl. Leticia Mesa was transported to University Medical Center of El Paso with a single gunshot wound to a leg and foot. Her injuries are not life-threatening.
Shortly before 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 8, Las Cruces Police were called to the 800 block of Stone Canyon Drive by a neighbor who reported hearing Leticia Mesa screaming for help. The neighbor, 69-year-old Barry Snyder, saw that the dog was attacking the girl and that Leticia Mesa was trying to cover the child.
Snyder retrieved a .45 caliber handgun from his home, called 911 and went to the aid of the girl and grandmother. Detectives learned that Snyder entered the backyard and fired the first shot as the 2-year-old pit bull aggressively closed distance on him. The shot appears to have missed the dog but accidentally struck Leticia Mesa’s right thigh.
Snyder fired four more rounds at the dog which ran to a side yard. Snyder followed the dog and fired two more rounds which proved to be fatal for the pit bull.
Las Cruces Police officers arrived to find Jazilyn and Leticia Mesa in the front yard of the home. Jazilyn was suffering from multiple injuries to her head and chest, and was rushed to Mountain View Regional Medical Center where she died shortly after noon.
The girl’s body was transported for autopsy to the medical investigator’s office inAlbuquerque. The pit bull, later determined to weigh 85 pounds, was taken toAlbuquerque for a necropsy, or post-mortem exam.