Plymouth, MA – A veteran Plymouth police officer was forced to shoot his K9 partner on Tuesday, after the police dog latched onto his hands while out on a call and refused to let go.
The incident began at approximately 9:20 a.m., after Plymouth Police Department (PPD) Officer Keith Larson and his partner, K9 Nico, responded to a scene to help locate a suspect who had fled, Plymouth Police Chief Michael Botieri said in a press release.
When he arrived in the area, Officer Larson pulled into a parking lot near 179 Court Street in order to prepare K9 Nico to assist with the call for service.
But while Officer Larson was suiting K9 Nico up in his vest, the police dog suddenly attacked him, WFXT reported.
The 17-year veteran-of-the-force repeatedly tried to get K9 Nico to release his grip, but to no avail.
“After several attempts to disengage Nico, Officer Larson was forced to utilize his service weapon,” Chief Botieri said. “Unfortunately, Nico died at the scene.”
Witness Lori Medeiros said she looked outside after hearing the gunfire, WFXT reported.
“I think it was about three gunshots fired,” Medeiros said. “I looked out and I saw the police officer on the ground.”
“I didn’t hear any yelling or screaming. I just saw the officer down on the ground and I know he was obviously in distress,” she explained.
Chief Botieri said the attack unfolded quickly.
“It happened in less than 30-45 seconds, which is a long time that he had to go through that,” he told WFXT. “I’m sure you realize it is difficult to for a K-9 officer to dispatch their own dog like that.”
Brewster Ambulance medics and several fellow officers responded to the scene to help Officer Larson, who suffered injuries to both hands during the attack, according to the press release.
Officer Larson was transported to South Shore Hospital for treatment and was released Tuesday night.
Chief Botieri said the veteran officer has established “an exemplary record” during his nearly two decades of service to the PPD.
Officer Larson was assigned to the department’s K9 Unit in March of 2017, and had been teamed up with K9 Nico since August of last year.
K9 Nico also bit Officer Larson while being deployed in April, according to Chief Botieri, who did not provide details regarding the severity of the officer’s injury in that incident.
The duo was subsequently reassigned to the Sheriff’s Department K9 Academy, and were recertified for service in July, the chief said.
“Please keep K-9 Officer Larson and Nico in your thoughts,” the PPD tweeted on Tuesday afternoon.