WHEELING, W.Va. — Police have released the names of two men who died Sunday in Wheeling – one from an apparent heart attack, the second from being attacked by a dog as he tried to save the first man.
Chief Shawn Schwertfeger identified the men as David Wallace, 63, and Roy Higgenbotham Jr., 62, both of Wheeling. He did not specify which man suffered the heart attack and which tried to render aid.
“Although one of the deceased men was, in fact, apparently attacked by the dog on the scene, the cause of death of both subjects remains undetermined,” Schwertfeger said. “Investigators will rely heavily on the toxicology and autopsy of the deceased and will be working with the office of the Chief Medical Examiner.”
Initial reports indicate a pit bull terrier attacked one of the men while he was trying to help the dog’s owner, who apparently had suffered a fatal heart attack at 131 14th St. in East Wheeling.
Sgt. Gregg McKenzie said Monday that the city Finance Department confirmed the dog is not registered with the city’s Dangerous or Vicious Dog Registry.
McKenzie said the 911 call originated from within the home at 8:50 p.m. Sunday.
McKenzie said he could not confirm whether the second man was killed by the dog or suffered a heart attack after the dog attacked him. He said an autopsy will be done on both bodies to determine the causes of death.
A woman who identified herself as a relative of one of the victims said the second man died of a heart attack after the dog attacked him.
She also said emergency responders found a woman on the roof of the home when they arrived.
McKenzie declined to comment on that detail.
Fire Chief Larry Helms said when the fire department received the medical emergency call, they were alerted that there might be a vicious dog in the area.
“When they arrived, they realized the dog was in the house mauling the second man,” he said. “The police arrived on the scene at about the same time as our guys and they were able to subdue the dog.”
Ohio County Animal Control removed the dog from the residence and placed it in quarantine, where it remained late Monday.
Associate City Editor Heather Zieger contributed to this story.