UPDATE, MONDAY 1 P.M.:
Wheeling police have released the names of the victims.
Police said David Wallace, 63 of Wheeling, and Roy A. Higgenbotham Jr., 62 of Wheeling, died Sunday night.
In a press release, Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger said that even though one of the victims was attacked by the dog on scene, the cause of death of both subjects remains undetermined. Schwertfeger also said investigators will rely heavily on the toxicologies and autopsies.
According to the news release, the dog involved in the incident remains in quarantine and in the care of the Ohio County Animal Control. The dog was not on the City of Wheeling register of Dangerous or Vicious Dogs.
Neighbors and the brother to one of the victims said the dog reacted when she thought her owner was being physically attacked Monday morning.
Neighbors said they have interacted with this pit bull and never thought of it as being vicious. Edward Turpin said his brother lived at 131 14th Street with his roommate who was partially crippled. Turpin said one of them had a heart condition and passed out, that is when the other tried to resuscitate him, but the dog didn’t understand and became protective and attacked.
“One of them had, had some heart problems and it seems like she was protecting him from the person trying to resuscitate him,” Neighbor Beth Patsch said. “She was always wonderful, they had had her and her mother and her mother had just passed in the fall, I believe, and this was the puppy. They’ve had her since she was tiny, tiny and never a problem.”
Beth Patsch is a neighbor who lives directly across the street and watched all of the events last night. She said she watched a female come through a second floor window onto the porch roof to avoid being attacked as well.
Turpin said it brings him some peace to know there was no foul play involved with his brother’s death.
The incident is being investigated by the Wheeling Police Department Detective Division.