SAGINAW, Mich. – Michigan police were involved in the fatal shooting of a suspect who is accused of stabbing a police service dog (PSD) in the head.
The violent crime occurred early Sunday morning when a disturbance call turned into a hostage situation.
Just after 8:00 Sunday morning, Saginaw Police entered the home and rescued the person being held. However, while rescuing the victim, the suspect stabbed K9 Deebo in the head with a knife.
As a result of the potential deadly assault on K9 Deebo, officers opened fire, killing the suspect, WJRT reported.
The rescued hostage was an adult male, but no further details were provided, according to mlive.com.
The Michigan State Police are handling the investigation.
Saginaw Police Chief Bob Ruth says this incident progressed very quickly.
“From the time span that I gathered, the officers were there for maybe 15 to 20 minutes before the incident became grave,” Ruth said.
As for K9 Deebo, he was treated at a local veterinary hospital. His condition is currently unknown.
Deebo isn’t just a PSD, he’s also a friend of the community. In addition to field work, he’s frequently building relationships in schools and safety expos, according to police.
K9 Deebo is a 5-year-old German Shepard. He was imported from Czechoslovakia.
Deebo joined the Saginaw Police Department in 2016. He is certified in human tracking, narcotics, criminal apprehension, and handler protection.
Highly trained PSDs like Deebo run about $13,000. In his case, strong community support was instrumental in his purchase.
“He helps protect our officers. He helps to assist our officers at crime scenes, taking suspects into custody,” Ruth said.
Deebo can be a big, bad dog when he’s protecting officers, but when he isn’t working, he’s just a normal dog who is adored by the community, according to WJRT.
“We come to spend a lot of time with these dogs, and they’re not just dogs. These dogs go home with their handlers. They become part of the family,” Jody Wilk said. Wilk is the President of the Saginaw Valley Police Canine Association.
Crowds are ecstatic to see the police dog at work like at K9 Demonstrations where people experience how K9s assist police first hand.
Deebo also engages with youth in the community while in schools.
“These kids know who this dog is. He’s in the schools. He’s doing demonstrations and teaching kids what the police officers do and building relationships like that,” Wilk said.
That’s why it was terrifying for people hearing that Deebo was injured in the line of duty Sunday morning.
“There was an incident that occurred further in the home where the suspect was armed with a knife, and one of our K9…”
Chief Ruth fought to get the words out about what happened to Deebo on Sunday during a press conference.
“Deebo was stabbed in the — excuse me — in the head this morning with a knife.”
The police department has five K9s, Ruth said, calling them “one of the family,” mlive.com reported.
“Deebo is there to protect the officers,” he said. “Deebo ends up getting injured just like an officer. Any time somebody is injured gravely like that, with a knife put in your head, it’s a pretty grave incident.”