Pit bulls fatally mauled Indiana pastor for 25 minutes before police arrived, granddaughter says

The late 85-year-old William Mundine (L), who led Faith Tabernacle Apostolic Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, and his wife, Betty (R).
The late 85-year-old William Mundine (L), who led Faith Tabernacle Apostolic Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, and his wife, Betty (R). | Family photo

The granddaughter of an 85-year-old Indiana pastor who watched him being mauled to death by two stray pit bulls in his backyard last Tuesday morning said it took local police about 25 minutes to respond to their cries for help and her family now wants to know why as officials confirmed one of the killer dogs remains on the loose.

“It was just so many bites. The hospital said he had some broken bones. He lost so much blood,” Holly Watkins, the granddaughter of the late Pastor William Mundine of Faith Tabernacle Apostolic Church in Indianapolis, told The Christian Post last Friday. “[They said] if he was to survive, his arms and legs would have to be cut off because he didn't have a blood flow going through his veins.”

After fighting hard to survive the vicious attack from the pit bulls that has left her grandmother living in fear, Watkins says she doesn’t know why it took local police so long to come to the scene of the mauling.

“That's questions we all want to know,” she told CP.

When asked if she was certain the police took about 25 minutes to respond to the attack on her grandfather, she said she was “certain.”

“I know. I mean, I'm quite certain. I know in my mind it took a long time. I can say that. It took a long time. It was 20 to 25 minutes. It was nothing fast,” Watkins said. “I have friends that came from their home quicker [and tried to help]. ... It wasn't something that was done quick.”

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department told Fox 59 that the attack from the pit bulls occurred around 10 a.m. on Tuesday when they were called to the city’s east side. They did not immediately respond to questions from CP Monday when asked how long it took them to get to the scene.

Kurt Christian, chief communications officer for the Indianapolis Animal Care Services, told CP in a statement that at 9:51 a.m. last Tuesday, “a call went out over 911's emergency dispatch radio indicating two dogs were attacking a person on the city's east side.”

He said at 9:57 a.m. “multiple agencies responded, including an Indianapolis Animal Care Services (IACS) Animal Control Officer (ACO) who arrived at the residence in the 2300 block of North Kenyon Street prior to 9:57 a.m.”

An Indianapolis Animal Care Services worker corners one of two pit bulls suspected of fatally attacking Pastor William Mundine on January 30, 2023.
An Indianapolis Animal Care Services worker corners one of two pit bulls suspected of fatally attacking Pastor William Mundine on January 30, 2023. | Screenshot/13News

Christian did not say what time IMPD officers arrived on the scene, noting that “questions regarding the timeline of IMPD or any other agency's involvement may be directed to that respective agency.”

IMPD did not immediately respond to questions from CP about how long their officers took to respond to the call for help by the pastor’s family.

Christian noted in an earlier statement that when the ACO and EMS personnel arrived on the scene, they, too, requested help from the police.

“After an ACO and EMS arrived on-scene, they requested IMPD and additional ACOs to assist,” he said.

Christian explained that the ACO had planned to tranquilize the dogs once caught, but a police officer chose to open fire at the killer dogs instead, striking one while the other escaped. It was noted in an earlier statement that one of the dogs had become aggressive with the officer.

“The ACO was preparing a tranquilizer dart to subdue the animals in accordance with their training when an IMPD officer discharged their firearm, striking one of the dogs. The second dog escaped and ACOs were unable to locate it,” he said.

The IACS spokesman said that even though the dogs that attacked the pastor looked like pit bulls they couldn’t be sure without a DNA test.

“Though the wounded and later impounded dog was pit bull-like in appearance, reports regarding the second dog's description are inconclusive. In the absence of a DNA test, additional investigation would be required to provide a definitive breed type for either animal,” Christian said.

He further noted that a decision was made to “humanely euthanize the dog that was shot, both for its welfare and the welfare of others, under the authority established in municipal code section 531-733.”

“IACS ACOs are still working to locate and impound the second dog believed to be involved in the attack. A determination will be made about that dog's outcome after it's located and evaluated,” he added.

A horror show

But what happened between the initial attack on the pastor and the arrival of the police was like a scene from a horror movie, Watkins said.

The late pastor’s granddaughter explained that after she and her grandmother, Betty, were first attacked by the dogs while they were outside their house last Tuesday, her grandfather was forced to get involved because the dogs attempted to enter their home.

“We were outside, and the dogs came from the side [of the house] and we ran. My grandma came in last, and she tried to pull the door back, but the dogs were in the house, like at the entrance of the door. So my granddaddy shooed them off when he heard her hollering,” Watkins recalled. “He shooed them out the house and … he went all the way to the back[yard] to shoo them off.”

She said what happened to her grandfather was a shock to her because she had expected him to return inside alive.

“When he shooed them away, I just thought he was gonna come back into the house like a normal day. … We looked out the window and he was getting attacked,” Watkins said.

“I tried to go out there with a bat and say, 'git!' They looked at me, them dogs, and they just kept attacking him. My grandma tried to [help]. She called the ambulance. 911. It took quite a while for them to come,” the grieving granddaughter said.

She explained that her grandfather was screaming for help for about 10 minutes. And even when he stopped screaming the dogs were still attacking him.

Watkins said she tried everything she could to get the dogs to leave her grandfather alone, but they just kept attacking him.

“I stood at the edge of the yard. I actually jumped in my car and kind of revved it up. You know, my engine revved up thinking that was going to scare them away. Drove it halfway into the grass as far as it could go. That didn't scare them, and I just jumped out after I did that,” she recalled.

“Normally, when we see them, we say 'get away.' You rev the car up, they run. I get the bat. I went as far as I could. I thought when I was swinging the bat they would run but they didn't.”

She said multiple people tried calling 911 about the attack as it spiraled out of control.

“I have a neighbor to the right. He said he looked out the window when he was hearing yells from my grandfather, he said he saw somebody down on the ground, but he didn't know quite what was going on, but he did call 911,” Watkins said. “I had some friends and family to call 911. The neighbor ended up coming out. There was nothing nobody could do. It was nothing nobody could do.”

Watkins recalled her disappointment when even when EMS and ACO workers arrived on the scene and could not provide any help for her grandfather.

“I feel like he was getting attacked the whole time. And when the ambulance came, they said there was nothing they could do because they didn't have guns. So we had to wait for the police to come,” she said.

The pastor’s granddaughter said her neighborhood had been dealing with attacks from the stray dogs for several weeks now and they had always depended on braver members of their family to “shoo” them away.

“They have been bothering us and people in the neighborhood for like weeks. Just like the night before we were in the backyard. [When] me and my grandma [are] in the shed, we always got to look because we know the dogs could come from nowhere,” she said. “As we were leaving out the night before. The dogs were right there barking so we just jumped back. We waited. We called for another family member to come, then he shooed the dogs away and we went in the house. So this has been happening for weeks.”

Watkins, 37, who said her grandfather and her grandmother raised her as one of their own children from the day she was born, said the pastor fought hard for his family and that’s why they see him as a “hero.” And seeing what the dogs did to their hero has been a nightmare.

“They [hospital staff] said some of the injuries were just deep. When he fell, they said he had an impact on his heart as well, but he put up a fight when he was getting attacked. He took everything back there as he could, to try to get them [dogs] off him. That's why it was kind of messy back there. He put up a fight, but he just couldn't win the fight,” Watkins said.

Members of her grandfather’s church, her grandmother, as well as members of their community have been taking the attack pretty hard, she says. And as one of the killer dogs remains on the loose they are trying to raise money via a GoFundMe campaign to build a private fence around her grandmother’s home so she can feel safe again.

“We're trying to get a private fence built around my grandma's house because now she won't even, I mean, she's afraid to go outside,” Watkins said. “We just want to keep her protected.”

Data cited by Fuicelli & Lee Injury Lawyers show that from 2010 to October 2023, there were 478 fatal dog bites, with 196 of those coming from pit bulls, and another 49 that were pit bull mixes. And though pit bulls are the “most decorated canine war hero in U.S. history,” in 2009, the U.S. Marine Corps banned pit bull breeds along with Rottweilers and wolf hybrids from Marine Corps bases for safety reasons.

When asked if she believes that pit bulls should be banned as pets, Watkins told CP she thinks they should just be better regulated and perhaps be kept as “indoor” pets.

Her grandmother, she said, is also hoping that the owner of the pit bulls that killed her husband steps forward and be held accountable.

“She's not coping well,” Watkins said of her grandmother. “She says she just wanted somebody to come forward [about] the dogs and admit it. She just wants justice to be served and that will make her feel much better.”

As for the killer dog still on the loose, Christian is asking the public to help them locate the animal.

“ACOs continue to sweep the area in search of the second involved animal. If individuals in the area see a loose dog in the area, they are instructed to call the Mayor's Action Center at 317-327-4622 or file a report through RequestIndy,” he said. “Multiple ACOs are still patrolling, talking to neighbors, and gathering information from witnesses. Members of the public with relevant information may also provide tips to Crimestoppers at 317-262-TIPS (8477).”

Contact: Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

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