A pit bull terrier, agitated by Wednesday night's thunderstorms, broke out of its crate then attacked and killed its owner's 60-year-old grandmother, police reported.
Nellie Davis was found dead about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday at The Highland Apartments, 12700 N Pennsylvania Ave., police said.
Davis' granddaughter returned home and found one of her two large pit bull terriers had attacked and killed her grandmother, Capt. Dexter Nelson said.
“Initially, we thought we were responding to a domestic. The reason being is the calling party was somewhat distraught; was unable to give dispatchers any information. She was just screaming on the phone,” Nelson said.
Officers found Davis' granddaughter holding the pit bull terrier, which had broken the crate's lock, he said.
Family members told police the dog was known for becoming agitated by thunderstorms and may have not recognized Davis, who had been in the hospital for a few days before returning home Wednesday, Nelson said.
Officers tried to contain the dog in its crate by wedging the door closed and tying rope around the crate.
When it could not be contained and continued to be aggressive, an officer shot the dog, Nelson said.
Davis' granddaughter, 22, was staying with her before going to study abroad, he said.
Police believe Davis was alive for most of the attack.
“It was a gruesome death,” Nelson said.
Homicide detectives and patrol supervisors are investigating the incident.
The dog's body has been taken to the state medical examiner's office to retrieve evidence, Nelson said.