Authorities last week made an agreement not to prosecute a Northwest D.C. man who used his unregistered handgun to kill a pit bull in order to stop it from mauling a child in his neighborhood.
As part of the agreement, Benjamin Srigley, 39, was required to pay a $1,000 fine but will not have criminal charges filed against him for the three unregistered firearms and the ammunition that investigators found in his possession, said Ted Gest, a spokesman for the office of the attorney general.
“We took it into account that he saved this boy’s life,” Mr. Gest said.
Possession of an unregistered firearm or ammunition in the District is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine, and prosecutors said Mr. Srigley could have faced up to seven criminal charges in the case.
“In our recent memory this is a unique charge because of the unusual circumstances of this case,” said Mr. Gest, whose office generally prosecutes low-level crime in the District.
The horrific incident that spawned the investigation occurred on a Sunday afternoon in late January as 11-year-old Jayeon Simon and his friend rode bicycles near Eighth and Sheridan streets Northwest in the Brightwood neighborhood. According to court records filed in D.C. Superior Court, three unleashed pit bulls pounced on Jayeon and attacked him.
Seeing the attack, Mr. Srigley went inside his home to get his Ruger 9 mm pistol while several other men hopped over fences to get away from the dogs, court records state.
From behind the wooden fence of his front lawn, Mr. Srigley began firing at the dogs. His shots attracted the attention of a Metropolitan Police Department officer on bicycle patrol nearby, and he also opened fire on the dogs, killing the other two.
The boy survived the attack but now bears scars on his elbow, torso and leg as a reminder.
Mr. Paige, who lives a block north of the corner where the attack occurred, will face nine criminal charges — including three counts of possession of a dangerous dog, three counts of having an unleashed dog, and three counts of allowing a dog to go without a collar. The charges account for each of the three dogs, Mr. Gest said.
Mr. Paige could not be reached at his home Friday for comment. A hearing is scheduled in June for his case.
Answering the door at his home, a duplex with a stone facade and well-manicured yard, Mr. Srigley held his own dog back from his front door and declined Friday to comment on the case because it is still technically pending in court. The office of the attorney general is deferring prosecution, meaning it will remain active while Mr. Srigley meets conditions set by authorities.
In addition to paying a $1,000 fine, which was submitted in full Wednesday when the case when to court, the charges against Mr. Srigley— who police noted has no criminal record — will be dropped on condition he is not charged with any other crimes in the next two months.
While investigating the case, police seized Mr. Srigley’s pistol, which he said he purchased legally in Virginia when he lived there, and close to 100 rounds of ammunition from his home. Mr. Srigley told investigators that he owned two other guns — an antique M-1 rifle and a Mossburg 12-gauge shotgun — which were in a storage space in the District.
Police also seized those guns, but authorities have agreed they will return the firearms to Mr. Srigley when he registers them in Maryland, where he plans to soon move.