CINCINNATI -- Della Riley, 42, was dead by the time officers arrived at her Dewey Avenue home Wednesday afternoon. Her dog stood over her unresponsive body -- then turned toward police, charged, and met their bullets midair. It died near its owner.
The call officers originally received had been a report of a person having a seizure, according to a news release from the Cincinnati Police Department. Neighbor Jon Seymoure said Riley's young son -- no more than 4, he estimated -- had come running across the street and begging for help around 1 p.m., but he couldn't fully explain what was happening inside his home.
"It was a terrible sight to see," Marietta Alexander, another neighbor, said.
Police who responded to the scene reported in the news release that Riley had been "viciously mauled" to death by the aggressive dog before they arrived.
She had been known to have seizures, Seymoure said. He guessed one such episode must have scared or provoked the dog, which he said spent most of its time indoors and had limited exposure to the rest of the neighborhood.
"I don't know, but it's sad that your own dog can turn against you in a snap like that," he said. "It's sad to think (the boy) don't have a mother anymore."
The boy's father was at work when the attack occurred.
"It's just tragic to come home to that," Seymoure said. "To be at work all day, and then you come home to something like this. I'd never wish that on anybody."