APD honors young boy for saving sister from dog attack

Nine-year-old Leeland Gonzales describes his feels as he fought to protect his 10-year-old sister, Jasmine, after she was attacked by their pet pitbull.

"I was scared, I had jelly legs, my mind just went blank," Leeland said.

The incident happened at the family home back in November.

"We were watching Beethoven and I forgot what made Riley go crazy. Jasmine was trying to go to the restroom and lock the door." Leeland said, "And so I got a crutch and started hitting Riley. I tried to give one to Jasmine and I got the other one and I just kept hitting the dog."

Leeland was eventually able to get his sister outside and had a neighbor call for help. When police arrived, the dog attacked again.

"Me and Jasmine were getting into the police car but Riley busted through the metal gate. He tried to attack Jasmine but that's when the police officer shot him," Leeland said.

Police said it was Leeland's actions with the crutch and quick thinking that saved his sister from sustaining more serious injuries. And for that bravery, APD presented him with the Certificate of Bravery.

"Most kids his age, most adults wouldn't have the intestinal fortitude and wherewithal to think on their feet and be able to not only remove (his sister) from harm's way but summon help in such a quick and calm manner," Assistant Chief Frank Dixon, who presented Leeland with the certificate, said.

Leeland's father, David, said he is most thankful that his family is gathered for a celebration and not a funeral.

"I'm really grateful. I thank God every day that it turned out the way it did. I know it could have turned out a lot worse. I see it every day in the news, kids and people getting attacked by dogs. Especially my daughter being so young and so small and I am really grateful that she is here for this moment. It worked out for the best," Gonzales said.

Jasmine is still healing from her injuries but is in very good health. She will be celebrating her 11th birthday on Monday.