UPDATE: The state Office of the Medical Investigator on Thursday afternoon released an initial cause of death finding and it ruled Cliff Wright died as a result of the dog attacking him, not any other health issue. A full autopsy report will not be finalized for several weeks. 

Check back later Thursday night for a fresh update on this story and in Friday's print edition of The New Mexican. — Digital News Editor Geoff Grammer.


Police are investigating if a pit bull was involved in the death of a 74-year-old business owner who was found dead outside his east-side home Wednesday.

The deceased was identified by a neighbor as Clifford D. Wright. Wright used to own a pawn and retail shop on Read Street, The Hock Shop.

Santa Fe Police Lt. Louis Carlos said officers responded to an emergency medical call at 7 p.m. from Gavin Wright, 27, saying that his father had been attacked by an animal at their house, 211 Williams St., just across Bishops Lodge Road from Fort Marcy Park.

"It was evident that the man had succumbed to the injuries when officers arrived," Carlos said. The body was found in the front of the home, and blood was confined to that area, Carlos said.

Gavin Wright told The New Mexican on Thursday that the 3 year-old dog, named Achilles, has not had any behavior issues and there is no evidence yet as to how his father died. Wright is a graduate of Santa Fe High School and played offensive line on the football team.

Carlos would not speculate on the cause of death, nor did he know if the man had any health problems. A cause of death will be determined by the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator pending an autopsy.

But Santa Fe police and Animal Control Services took the family's pit bull from the home shortly after 10 p.m. Wednesday night and walked it to an animal control unit. Three other dogs that were kenneled in the back of the house would be left with the family, Carlos said.

 The website for Wright's business says it is "the oldest family owned pawn shop in Santa Fe." The location for the former shop was empty Thursday.

 

A longtime neighbor had been worried about the newest dog, an unneutered male brought home and walked by the son with a restraint. The neighbor was concerned enough about the new animal so as not to walk past the house anymore.

"It was clearly the kid's dog, not the father's dog," said the neighbor.

Carlos said police were interviewing the son late Wednesday night and did not yet know the circumstances leading up to what the son reported to police dispatch as an attack.