BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - An Avondale man is mourning the loss of his dog after it was run over when two thieves attempted to steal the man's van.
"My wife and I are angry. And we're sad. Leo was a sweet little dog," said the man, who asked that his identity be kept secret out of fear of retaliation.
Leo, the dog, died Tuesday evening when he and another dog were thrown out of the vehicle.
"That's when (the suspect) backed over the dog the first time. I didn't know what he was trying to do. I shot the window out."
The man, who has a conceal carry permit, says the bullet came close to hitting one of the suspects.
"I'm thankful the young man is not dead. I'm thankful I did not kill him," he said.
The incident happened outside the man's business. After shooting, he chased the suspects a short distance to where they ditched the car at an Avondale railroad crossing. They took off under a stalled train.
"This is probably the last straw for me," the man said.
The man says he believes crime has increased in Avondale to the point he's seriously considering moving his business.
"We are under a constant attack by a criminal element in this community," he said. "Are we going to protect our citizens or are we just going to keep turning our head?"
As for the crooks in this case, particularly the one who almost took a bullet, the man offered a few thoughts.
"Get your life together, son, because you almost lost it," he said.
The two individuals are described as being very young. Birmingham police say they are investigating, and this is likely going to be handled by the auto theft division.