Sister, officers commended for boy’s rescue

Published: April 19, 2006 | 4027th good news item since 2003

The City Council on Tuesday honored Irwindale police officers and a 6-year-old girl who helped save the life of her twin brother during a vicious dog attack.

The commendations resulted from the officers’ swift actions on April 6, when a boy playing in the back yard of a home in the 5000 block of Allen Drive was attacked by the family pit bull.

The 6-year-old boy suffered lacerations to his face and torso.

Officers killed the dog in the rescue. The boy’s name has not been released. The council honored Irwindale Officers Raymond Gonzales, George Zendejas, Greg Gomez, Jesse Bravo and Sgt. Mario Camacho along with police dispatcher Sherry Peterson.

The 9-1-1 call reporting the attack came from the victim’s twin sister, Kayla Herrera.

“She was so calm,” said Peterson, who took Herrera’s call for help. “She gave us all the information that we needed & She kept me calm. She was the ideal 9-1-1 caller.”

Peterson gave the girl a stuffed bear from the 9-1-1 Cares charity foundation.

“We, as a whole city, are very proud of you,” Irwindale Mayor Julian Miranda said to the girl. Gonzales was commended for kicking down a fence to rescue the boy while Zendejas grabbed the boy and ran with him into the house to begin first aid. Bravo, Gomez and Camacho aided Gonzales in restraining the pit bull, which was eventually choked to death.

Family members say the unsung hero of the whole incident was the boy’s grandmother. When 69-year-old Esperanza Herrera saw her grandson being attacked by the dog, she threw herself on the dog and didn’t let go, according to daughter-in-law Theresa Herrera.

Herrera shoved her hand down the dog’s mouth to stop him from biting the boy, she said.

“Grandma would not let go of the dog. She threw her entire body on the dog to save her grandson,” Herrera said, adding her mother-in-law suffered bites on her hand. “She sacrificed \ for the little boy.” Theresa Herrera and her husband, Richard Herrera, said they’ve raised pit bulls for 28 years, never subjected their dogs to fighting and have never had a problem. The dog, Grunt, appeared to have just snapped one day, they said.

Esperanza Herrera, the wife of former Irwindale City Manager Alfred Herrera, has an inner strength that belies her age, said her son, Richard Herrera.

“My mom, you wouldn’t know she’s 69,” he said.

Published in Rescues
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