GRATIOT COUNTY, Mich. -- An 8-year-old boy attacked by four Rottweilers was no stranger to the dogs, who are now being housed at the Gratiot County Animal Control. However, what triggered the Monday attack is still unclear.
"I'm going to get killed," 8-year-old Ethan Nokes said about what he thought as the attack happened.
You wouldn't know Nokes came face-to-face with death. His body is bandaged up and he's in too much pain to put pressure on his left leg after the dogs attacked him.
"First thing out of his mouth was, 'I was just want it to be over, just kill me,'" Nokes' mother Doris Gifford told WNEM.
It happened at his grandmother's home in Seville Township in Gratiot County. He was about to play outside with his brother Jordan when one dog knocked him down. Then the pack surrounded him and began mauling him.
"Jordan kept screaming, 'Help, they're killing my brother,'" Nokes said.
More than 100 yards away, Ken Hansen was working on a home when his brother heard screaming, followed by distinctive barks and growls. He said he's heard dogs attack before and said adrenaline kicked in when he saw what was happening.
"They weren't just nipping at him or biting him, they were ripping him apart," Hansen said.
Hansen sprinted over and found Nokes bleeding and his clothes ripped off. Hansen picked him up and ran him inside as the dogs were still trying to get at him.
"He said he knew he was going to die and he wanted me to kill him, and I kept telling him you're going to be ok," Hansen said.
Nokes was then airlifted to Grand Rapids.
"There was no reason for them to be there other than, he was there to save him, for sure, I think if he hadn't have been there, Ethan would have been killed," Gifford said.
Two days after the attack, Nokes has someone he can call a hero, but his rescuer sees it with a little more humility.
"Natural instincts. People say I did something. I jumped, I ran, whatever, I say you would have done it," Hansen said.
The Gratiot County Animal Control director said in his many years of being here, he's never seen an attack this bad. On Wednesday, he passed the investigation along to the prosecutor.