A longtime deputy in Indiana, described as tiny in stature with a big heart, died Tuesday night after officials say she was protecting her young son during a dog attack in her home.
Tamieka White, 46, who worked for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, was pronounced dead shortly after Indianapolis police responded to her home on the city’s east side. The dog attack was reported about 7:45 p.m. local time.
White’s 8-year-old son also was bitten and is recovering from non-life-threatening injuries.
“She died last night protecting the most important person in her life,” Brittany Seligman, White’s commander at the Sheriff’s Office, said the day after the attack.
Dog fatally shot by police
Indianapolis police said the attacking dog was fatally shot by a responding officer, who fired when the dog charged at them.
White served as a deputy sheriff with the agency since 2007 in the Judicial Enforcement Division, which oversees the transportation of inmates to-and-from courts, collecting delinquent taxes and serving legal process papers. In a statement, Sheriff Kerry Forestal called White a “bright light” to everyone who knew her and said the agency is grateful for her nearly 17 years of service.
Seligman said White always had a smile on her face, and held a passion for billiards.
“Anyone who challenged her would quickly learn that they couldn’t stand at the table with Deputy White,” Seligman said.
But above all, Seligman said, White was a mother.
A spokesperson with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said the attacking dog was not owned by White, and police have identified the owner. They declined to release further information about the dog’s owner.
In a statement, Indianapolis Animal Care Services said workers impounded the deceased dog, three additional dogs and a cat from the home. The department said they cannot confirm the breeds without a DNA test, but said all the dogs appeared to be a “pitbull-type.”
The animals are being held as part of the ongoing investigation into the attack.