Authorities in Texas believe a teenage family acquaintance rushed into a recent birthday party and opened fire on attendees — and the survivors say a pet dog named Zero is the reason they all escaped with their lives.
According to the New York Post, Harris County police investigators allege Javian Castenada burst into the Houston home of Laura Martinez on March 9 during a party celebrating her daughter’s 13th birthday — the day after residents say he burglarized the home.
Martinez was reportedly shot in the leg. A bullet hit her son, Taylor Hollier, in the foot, and her stepdaughter, Valerie Pace, was struck in the thigh and near her spine, the family reported in an online fundraiser.
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The only fatality, however, was Zero. The Great Pyrenees reportedly attacked the shooter, biting him in the arm and sustaining three gunshots in the process.
Zero died from his injuries a short time later but kept fighting even after he was shot the first time, Pace recalled.
“He jumped up to protect us and never showed any fear, even when he was struck,” she said, adding that she will “miss him a lot.”
By forcing the gunman to drop his arm, the family believes the dog’s act saved lives.
As of the latest reports available, police were still looking for Castenada. He is expected to face criminal charges including three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Authorities described him as potentially armed and dangerous.
“If you have any information please contact our department. 713-477-4070,” wrote Pct. 2 Constable Christopher E. Diaz in a Facebook post last week.
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[Featured image: GoFundMe]