A police dog was shot and killed Tuesday morning by its handler when it attacked the officer while both were on duty in Plymouth, Massachusetts, authorities say.
Patrol Officer Keith Larson and his K-9, Nico, were among the officers who had been called to a parking lot about 9:20 a.m. for a "suspect who fled the scene," police said. Details of what the officers were responding to have not yet been provided.
As Larson was preparing his K-9 in the parking lot, police said Nico latched on to the officer, biting him during an interaction.
"I don't think it lasted more than 30 or 45 seconds which is a long time for him to go through that and as I'm sure you realize difficult for a K-9 officer to dispatch his own dog like that," Police Chief Michael Botieri said.
The officer tried several attempts to disengage the dog but was forced to discharge his service weapon, according to Botieri.
"I heard about 3 shots," said Lori Medeiros who works nearby. "I got up to look outside and in doing so, saw a police officer down on the ground in obvious distress."
Nico died at the scene.
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Larson was taken to South Shore Hospital to be treated for injuries to both of his hands, police said.
"It looked like he definitely had some serious injuries to his hand and up his arm," Medeiros observed.
Nico had been assigned to Larson since August 2019. Back in April, the dog bit him in another incident, police said. Following that incident, both the officer and the dog had to be retrained and re-certified in July, according to police.
"We have them evaluated by the K-9 academy. They decide if the dog is deployable and they take both the officer and the K9 back to the academy for a period of time and they make a decision whether they are certified for service and they were both certified and were back in service in between July and August of 2020," Botieri said.