Nassau County police and Animal Control officials stand on West...

Nassau County police and Animal Control officials stand on West Drive in North Merrick where the search for a pit bull in a wooded area continues. (Oct. 4, 2011) Credit: Jim Staubitser

Nassau County police Tuesday shot at and may have wounded a pit bull like the one that mauled a woman in North Merrick last week before it escaped police gunfire.

As many as seven area schools, five in North Merrick and two in Uniondale, were locked down during one of two searches.

Shortly before 2:30 p.m., police entered a wooded area in North Merrick near a residence on Ott Lane, south of Jerusalem Avenue, in a search for the dog, a police spokesman said.

Earlier, about 8:15 a.m., police combed another wooded area that borders backyards on South Drive, south of Jerusalem Avenue and east of the Meadowbrook State Parkway, a person at the scene said. That search ended about 10:30 a.m.

The search areas in both instances are about a mile north of where Shashi Sharma, 62, of North Merrick, was mauled.

In the afternoon search there was a report of shots fired, and a police spokesman said the officers believe they may have wounded the animal, which was not found.

The search was suspended later in the day but overnight patrol officers were ordered to remain on the lookout, police said.

Police and the Town of Hempstead animal control officers have been looking for a brown pit bull with a white belly since Sharma was mauled Thursday morning by two pit bulls as she walked near a senior center not far from her home.

Police shot and killed one of the dogs, but the other escaped.

Sharma was in critical but stable condition Tuesday morning at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, hospital spokeswoman Shelley Lotenberg said.

With Zachary R. Dowdy

and Jim Staubitser

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