Authorities in Valdosta, Georgia, are investigating the tragic death of a teenager who was killed in an apparent hit-and-run while attempting to rescue an injured dog.
On Saturday, 16-year-old Samuel Johnson, Jr. noticed an injured dog on the street and rushed to help. Unfortunately, as he approached the animal, he was struck by a vehicle that fled the scene, according to a release report from the Valdosta Police Department.
Johnson was found on the ground by another passerby who had initially come to the scene after noticing a deceased dog on the street. Alongside Johnson, they discovered another injured dog.
The police were able to identify the vehicle involved, noting damage to the front bumper on the driver’s side. The vehicle was subsequently located, but the report did not clarify whether the owner or driver had been identified by authorities. People’s requests for clarification remained unanswered at the time of reporting.
Samuel Johnson, Jr., a high school football player, is being mourned by the community, with tributes shared online. The Valdosta Wildcats, his high school football team, expressed being “heartbroken and devastated” in an Instagram post on Monday.
“Sam was like a brother to me; he was my right-hand man whenever I needed something; he would be there for me,” wrote one person on his obituary page.
The Valdosta Police Department has confirmed that an ongoing investigation is in progress and declined further comment.