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law enforcement:

Police dog survives being shot after mistakenly biting an officer

Updated Tuesday, May 15, 2012 | 10:06 a.m.

Nguyen Hooker

Nguyen Hooker

A Metro Police dog entered a backyard Monday morning with a clear mission: Corner the suspect hiding out back there.

When the suspect attempted to flee, the dog stayed true to its mission and bolted over the backyard wall right behind the suspect. And that’s where the mission fell apart.

In an apparent state of confusion, the dog bit a patrol officer on the other side of the wall, prompting another officer to shoot the dog.

Police said the incident unfolded shortly after 11 a.m. Monday when a man called 911 and reported his male friend was “acting erratically with a knife” in the 200 block of Wisteria Avenue. Police said they also received reports that the man had been going door-to-door and had tried to enter at least one residence in the western valley neighborhood near Jones Boulevard and Alta Drive.

The suspect, who was possibly chasing after a roommate, ran from police when officers arrived, setting off a foot pursuit through the neighborhood, Metro spokesman Bill Cassell said. Officers caught up with the suspect, but a struggle ensued and the man fled again, he said.

The suspect broke into at least two homes in the neighborhood during the pursuit, Cassell said.

Eventually, a police helicopter located the suspect in the backyard of a residence on Upland Boulevard, a street parallel to Wisteria Avenue, Cassell said.

Upon arrival, officers called in a K-9 unit, which sent a police dog named Marco into the backyard to force the suspect to comply, Cassell said. That's when the suspect jumped the wall and ran.

The dog followed the suspect, but apparently became confused and bit a patrol officer approaching from the other side, Cassell said. The dog's K-9 handler tried to get Marco off the officer, but the dog tried to bite again, at which point another officer shot the animal, police said.

In addition to physical efforts, authorities tried to subdue the dog with a Taser before the officer resorted to using a gun, said Capt. Larry Burns of Metro’s Bolden Area Command, which covers the neighborhood where the incident happened.

The dog was taken to Metro's veterinary clinic, where it was stabilized and sent to a trauma center, Cassell said. He underwent surgery and, as of Monday evening, was in critical but stable condition, police said.

Marco, a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois, joined the police force in January, but his first day working as a patrol dog was April 25, police said.

Burns said the sad situation has upset all the officers, who are hoping the dog recovers.

“This dog is very athletic,” Burns said. “It scaled those big walls with no problem.”

The officer bitten suffered minor injuries and was transported to University Medical Center, Cassell said.

The suspect, identified by police as 18-year-old Nguyen Hooker, was taken into custody in the vicinity, Cassell said. Hooker was booked into the Las Vegas City Jail on counts of obstructing a police officer and resisting a police officer, officials said.

Metro will release the identities of the officers involved in the shooting within 48 hours. At that time, the department also will release the name of the injured officer.

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  1. Bob: We have a reporter on the scene now. Check back for updates.

  2. Dang they shot the wrong dog.

  3. Dang the dog done bite the wrong one.

  4. On a serious note I do hope the officer and the dog both recover.

  5. In all seriousness, this shows that an animal (dog), even being well tained can/will do what instinct tells it to do. Never trust an animal 100%. Hope the dog and officer recover fully.

  6. Oh my gosh. I hope the officers is well. That poor dog and handler. He has to feel so bad.

  7. If the handler had then shot the officer who shot his dog I would be strongly tempted to call it justifiable.

    I was hoping Bradley would post on this. Once the details had come out I was thinking it had to be some kind of human error.

  8. Thank you, BChap! I would like to express myself so eloquently and intelligently, but I am SO FURIOUS with the IJIT METRO OFFICERS in this incident that I am unable to get past my outright anger. IJITS!!!! both of them! My heart goes out to the handler and the police dog. I cannot imagine what I will feel should I outlive my best friend. I pray that the dog lives to "tell the tale" happy in retirement. As for the IJIT METRO OFFICERS who should have known better... whatevs.

  9. @B Chap...Isn't it also required before a K9 and their handler go into the field for patrol that the dog MUST understand and follow the commands of the handler? For the K9 handler to have to shoot his own partner (dog) his commands to the dog must of not been working. I can understand commanding the dog to stop a couple of times before the dog lets go because the dog has just as much adrenaline as the officers during a foot pursuit. But when it comes down to having to pull your sidearm and shoot then something went wrong. The other officer was probably in the wrong position as your manual stated but the dog obviously ignored numerous commands by the handler. Would love to learn how long this handler and K9 have been together.

  10. Furthermore, these two ought to have to repay the citizens of Las Vegas the thousands of dollars paid to train the police dog AND, should the dog survive their incompetence, be made to pay $20 each month (via written check) to whomever cares for the dog until its passing - regardless of whether or not they remain on the force. This might keep the training they received regarding K-9s first and foremost in their pointy little heads. This poor animal was only doing what it was trained to do. Again, it makes me so sad that I am furious.

  11. I completely understand BChap..but my main question was... is the dog supposed to obey the handlers commands at all times no matter who is where or what is happening? I know you have a LEO background so that's why I'm asking you that question. If your answer is no, then we should reconsider maybe go back to having blood hounds as tracking dogs for the police.

  12. I'm sure it wasn't just a second lunge at the officer...for a K9 handler to shoot his/her dog they must of known something was horribly wrong and nothing was going their way. My good friend is a K9 handler and trainer back east and he would NEVER resort to shooting his partner. Something happened here that was one of those "this never happens" situations. And I agree B Chap it all had to do with training on everyone's part. Except the criminal of course he knew what to do...run.

  13. Sorry BChap..I read the article wrong. It was another officer other than the handler that shot the dog. My bad. I just couldn't imagine a handler shooting their own dog unless things went horribly wrong. I take 100% responsibility for my previous posts.

  14. Brad, this is way they don't want to uses cams.

  15. Yes Metro may contend that there was too much chaos in close proximity for the K-9 to follow commands of his handler.[Sic]

    Is this not what the families of most officer involved shootings say the problem is with Officers training or lack of. However that excuse is not good enough for The D.A. so that excuse is not good enough for this case either.

  16. Great, now Metro is shooting its own... what exactly would have been wrong with tazing the dog instead? Guns should be the last resort, not the first.

  17. One day, we'll all have to start showing this much compassion for people. Wouldn't that be something?

  18. Ah if the dog needs a new home, I can help out.