An Alabama man died after being mauled by a police K-9 on Sunday, just a day before the home burned in a suspected arson.
Joseph Pettaway’s family said he died after the police dog attacked him inside a Cresta Circle home, reported The Montgomery Advertiser.
State Bureau of Investigation Captain Joe Herman said preliminary autopsy results indicate Pettaway suffered “an accidental death as a result of a ruptured femoral artery.”
Montgomery police said Pettaway, 51, was believed to have been burglarizing a Cresta Circle home when he was killed. However, Pettaway’s family disputes that story, saying that Joseph frequently visited the home and had no reason to break in.
“That’s somebody child, somebody’s family,” Pettaway’s sister Yvonne Pettaway-Frazier said Tuesday. “I don’t care what a person is doing, they don’t deserve to go that way. It’s not right to take somebody’s life like that.”
Pettaway was well-known in the neighborhood. His mother lives less than a block away, and all 10 of his brothers and sisters still live in the area.
“They knew him. He’d be over there every day,” Pettaway-Frazier said.
Less than a day after Pettaway was killed, the Cresta Circle home burned in a house fire described by fire officials as a “total loss.”
Montgomery Fire/Rescue Lt. Jason Cupps said they believe it was arson and an investigation is ongoing.
Police investigators said the fire started after they were done collecting information at the scene.
“My agents had completed the scene processing well before the fire occurred,” SBI Capt. Joe Herman said. “In no way did the fire have any affect on our ongoing investigation.”
Alabama’s State Bureau of Investigation is looking into the death in a use-of-force investigation.
The dog’s handler was placed on paid administrative leave, and the dog is under quarantine at a city kennel.
MPD Capt. Regina Duckett would not say whether or not the dog’s handler went into the home with the dog when it killed Pettaway.