The scene was utter confusion – flashing lights from law enforcement vehicles and clusters of neighbors asking each other, “What happened?” and “What’s going on?”

All anyone knew was that shots were fired, people were arrested and a police officer had been  taken away in an ambulance.

Officer Dave Troutman was severely bitten by a pit bull during a drug raid Thursday at 516 Avondale Ave. Maj. Bill Collins said the injury was not life threatening.

It started when officers from MARMET Drug Task Force and the Marion Police Department went to the Avondale residence at 1:40 p.m. to serve a search warrant for drugs. Collins said the house had been under investigation for drug activity for two months. As officers approached, a woman was leaving the house, police said. When she saw the officers, she ran back into the residence.

Troutman pursued the woman and was attacked by a large pit bull when he entered the home. When the dog bit Troutman’s forearm and would not let go, three officers shot it several times before it released its grip.

Troutman was given first aid at the scene and was taken by emergency squad to Marion General Hospital. He was taken to Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus for surgery because of the severity of the bite. Police reported finding almost 4 grams of heroin and a handgun at the residence.

Five adults and five children were present during the incident. The children, who were reported to be home-schooled, were in the custody of relatives, police said. Three adults and one juvenile were arrested.
» Jennifer Tiller, 30, 516 Avondale Ave., was arrested on a charge of drug
trafficking.
» Phyllisa A. Cooper, 29, 190 Glad St., was arrested on charges of obstructing
and drug abuse.
» Karen J. Prise-Hughes, 39, 3244 Marion-Mount Gilead Road, was arrested on
a warrant for failure to appear.

The juvenile’s identity and charges had not been released by the Star’s deadline. There also were three pit bulls in the house, all belonging to Tiller. In addition to the dog killed in the altercation, there was a grown female pit bull and a pit bull puppy.

The children were allowed to keep the puppy, but the adult pit bull was taken into custody by the dog warden.

Collins said in a news release that he was appreciative of the neighbors who asked about and provided aid to the wounded officer.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office assisted at the scene.

Originally published in the Marion Star on February 3, 2012.