A Massachusetts police officer was forced to gun down his K-9 partner when the dog attacked him at a crime scene, department officials said.
The veteran Plymouth cop, Keith Larson, and his police dog, a German shepherd named Nico, responded early Tuesday to a parking lot where a suspect had fled, Police Chief Michael Botieri said in a statement.
Nico bit Larson while he was prepping the animal for the call — marking the second time this year that the officer was attacked by his dog.
The officer tried to get the K-9 off him before using his service weapon to shoot Nico, police said.
Larson, who had injuries to his hands, was taken to a hospital for treatment. Botieri said he was expected to be released late Tuesday, WFXT reported.
“It happened in less than 30-45 seconds, which is a long time that he had to go through that,” Botieri told reporters at a press conference. “I’m sure you realize it is difficult for as K-9 officer to dispatch their own dog like that.”
Nico also bit Larson — a 17-year department vet with an “exemplary” service record — in April while deploying the dog. The pair were reassigned to the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Academy before being recertified for service in July, Botieri said.
“The report we got from the sheriff’s department is that they were working together as a team and [had] no issues,” Botieri told reporters.
K-9 Patrol Officer Keith Larson with his partner, NicoPlymouth Police Department
One woman told WXTF she heard three gunshots before seeing Larson struggling on the ground.
“I didn’t hear any yelling or screaming,” witness Lori Medeiros said. “I just saw the officer down on the ground and I know he was obviously in distress.”