A local man became a hero after rescuing a stranger from the clenched jaws of a pit bull on Sunday evening in Washington, D.C.

Eads Johnson IV, 26, was watching an NFL game between the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants at about 5 p.m. in the home of a family friend on Quebec Street in Cleveland Park when he heard a female repeatedly screaming, "Help me!" from the alleyway between the house and its neighboring property.

The New Canaan man followed the shrieks outdoors to find the teeth of a large pit bull sunk into the bloody forearm of a blonde woman in a black dress.

"I zeroed in on her pretty quickly," Johnson said.

Johnson said he immediately took action and straddled the dog, grabbed his collar and served him three hard punches to the nose.

"Punching the dog in the nose was just a best guess," Johnson explained. "It's like what you see on Animal Planet in these situations. It's the first thing that came to mind, but I didn't know if it would work or not."

The punching forced the dog, who Johnson said was named Cane, to free his grip from around the woman's arm. Once freed from the attack, the woman fled the scene, Johnson said.

"It did a heck of a number on her," he said. "There was a lot of blood -- I mean a lot of it. If [the dog] had gotten her around the throat, it could have killed her. I'm not sure if she would have lived."

According to Johnson, the victim's dress was tattered, torn and blood-soaked.

Johnson, who said he stands 6-feet, 2 inches tall and weighs 180 pounds, wrestled the dog, which he described as 80 to 85 pounds of "all muscle," into an outdoor kennel he spied in its owner's backyard. The struggle lasted about 90 seconds, he said.

"At that point, I think [the dog] was OK aside from a sore nose," Johnson said. "It was unfortunate. Once I got him in the kennel he looked sad."

A resident of the home where Johnson was staying called police and paramedics from a mobile phone during Johnson's wrestle with the pit bull.

When police attempted to transport the pit bull into a vehicle, the dog escaped and rushed toward an officer, Johnson said. The dog was shot three times by an officer and taken to a veterinarian where he was put to sleep, according to Johnson.

The victim is the girlfriend of the dog's owner and her condition was stable as of 3 p.m. on Tuesday, according to Johnson.

Johnson said he only suffered scrapes and bruises during the incident.

"He didn't just want to be a hero," said Polly Perkins Johnson, Johnson's mother. "He really was the right guy to be there at the right time. He's has a lot of experience with dogs and animals."

Johnson, a St. Luke's High School and Trinity University alumnus who has been job searching in the nation's capitol since October, said he has lived alongside dogs his entire life. Three Labradors currently reside at his childhood home in New Canaan, according to his mother.

"That dog was incredibly strong," Johnson said. "I don't think I would have done it if I was a couple of pounds lighter."