The family of 43-year-old Mathew Giannattasio said the man died Sunday after a bizarre chain of events while he was searching for a friend's dog.
In an interview with Channel 5 Monday, Mathew's brother, Michael Giannattasio, said they are mourning his brother's death and thanking those who tried to save him.
If you have ever lost a pet, you know how frantic it can be looking for it.
Mathew Giannattasio's family said he was just trying to be a good friend and found his buddy's dog near 67th Avenue and Camelback down the street from his friend's home.
But the family said in the process of getting the bull mastiff into his truck, Mathew Giannattasio ended up getting pinned underneath.
"He's a very wonderful man," said Michael Giannattasio.
Michael Giannattasio described his brother as the kind of person who would give the shirt off his own back, and it was his generous spirit that made him late for dinner Sunday night.
"He said he had something to do before he came over, and I guess the dog got out," said Mathew Giannattasio's sister-in-law, Nikki Giannattasio.
She said Mathew Giannattasio was trying to help catch the dog when, "He gets out of his truck to let the dog in the truck ,and he puts his foot on the break and like hops out on one foot."
No one really knows exactly what happened next, but Mathew Giannattasio was pinned underneath a full size pickup truck. In a moment's notice, total strangers ran to his rescue.
"My sister, my wife and my other family tried to lift the truck," said neighbor Israel Torres.
"At one time there was, I don't know, 10 or 15 people trying to lift the truck off of him," said Michael Giannattasio.
The neighbors couldn't get the vehicle off Mathew Giannattasio on their own but managed to lift it off his body with a jack until help arrived. Even though it did not save Mathew Giannattasio's life, it sure made a difference to his family. Michael Giannattasio and Nikki Giannattasio went back to the neighborhood Monday to say thank you in person. They left some candles, a balloon and a photo and said Mathew Giannattasio's memory will never die.
"Thank you for at least making an effort to save my brother," said Michael Giannattasio.
The dog was captured unharmed and was returned to the owner.
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