OKLAHOMA CITY - Twelve elementary school students have been transferred to a hospital after authorities said a pit bull mix reportedly bit several on a local playground.
According to Captain David Macy with the Oklahoma City Fire Department, emergency crews were called just before 1 p.m. Monday to Millard Fillmore Elementary.
There were 28 third and fourth grade students on the playground, along with three teachers.
"We have transported 12 at this point, five of those by ambulance, by EMSA. Seven went by private vehicle with their parents," Macy said. "The dog did get inside the school. One of those teachers was able to tackle the dog and keep it from going after any of the other student."
The teacher, identified as Lee Hughes, is a special education instructor. At a press conference Monday, Hughes said he did not feel like a "hero" despite being praised as one.
"I had it pinned, and my arms locked around his head so he couldn't move," Hughes said. "Everybody did what they're supposed to do."
A police officer arrived after the dog, described as a brown and white pit bull mix, was tackled by Hughes and assisted. It's unclear who it belongs to, Macy said.
"The dog came on and started to attack some of the kids, and then of course the kids began to scream and panic, which excited the dog and scared the dog even more, so his natural instinct was to keep biting and going after the kids," he said.
The dog is currently in the custody of Oklahoma City Animal Welfare. We're told the injuries sustained by the students are not life-threatening.
"Some superficial bites. Some of the students had scraped knees and sore elbows as they fell trying to get away from the dog," Macy said.
Sixth grader Sebastian Zermeno was being picked up by his mother Monday afternoon when News 4 spoke with him. Zermeno had a bandage on his arm after being hurt.
"I was coming over here, and we were all running, and there were kids behind me, and I fell and I got trampled by kids," Zermeno said. "I was just so scared. I didn’t expect for this to happen today."
William Valasquez has children at Fillmore Elementary. He said none were hurt Monday and, though he has never had issues with the school, he said he would like security to be taken another look at.
"Me and my wife came the other day to bring my daughter some snacks, and I was driving down Blackwelder, and I had seen the kids on the playground, and I saw my daughter, and I was driving and I saw the gate wide open," Valasquez said.
According to Tim Coleman, director of Oklahoma City Public Schools security, it is an issue being examined across the district.
"We have plans to put welded chains in gates that can't be cut off on the fences," Coleman said.
Any parents with concerns is urged to call a 24-hour hotline at 405-587-7233 so school officials can immediately look into a situation.