PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. – A deputy in Florida was shot three times by a burglary suspect on March 12. The deputy’s partner, K9 Taco, attacked the gunman, which provided a sergeant the chance to respond and and neutralize the suspect, likely saving the deputy’s life, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
The deadly encounter took place as Cpl. Matt Aitken and Sgt. Jake Viano were tracking a burglary suspect using K9 Taco, according to video released by PCSO, reported FOX 35 Orlando.
Bodycam video shows that when deputies located the suspect, he opened fire, striking Aitken multiple times, and he went down. In response, K9 Taco forged ahead to apprehend the gunman by biting him in the hip area, which allowed Viano a chance to return fire after being fired upon himself.
The gunman was struck and subsequently pronounced dead at the scene, the sheriff’s office said, FOX reported. The deceased suspect was identified as Zion Bostick.
Aitken was rushed to the hospital and required surgery for unspecified injuries sustained during the shooting. He is presently recovering, according to PCSO.
“The suspect ambushed Corporal Aitken and shot him three times,” the sheriff’s office wrote on Facebook. “Corporal Aitken may not be here today if it wasn’t for the heroic actions of K-9 Taco and Sergeant Viano.”