'The outcome may have been deadly had K-9 Falko not intervened'
SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - A police K-9 grabbed a masked suspect's arm and broke the man's wrist as he pointed a semi-automatic handgun at officers Sunday night, Springfield Police said.
"Officers on scene speculate the outcome may have been deadly had K-9 Falko not intervened at the moment he did," Springfield Police said in a report.
The suspect now faces Attempted Aggravated Murder of a Police Officer, Assaulting a Police Service Animal, Assaulting a Public Safety Officer and other charges.
Police did not release the man's identity. Investigators believe the 38-year-old is a fugitive from another jurisdiction; his name is not being released so as not to interfere in that open investigation, police said.
The situation started in Eugene on Pioneer Pike Street off Coburg Road in Eugene late Sunday night.
The residents of the home saw their Cadillac Escalade SUV backing out of their driveway and called 911. Investigators later determined the suspect entered the garage, found the keys to the SUV and used the garage door opener to exit.
A Springfield Police Officer spotted the stolen Escalade on 28th Street in Springfield.
The SUV sped off, leading police on a chase in the Mohawk area of Springfield before going onto Highway 126 westbound and onto northbound Interstate 5.
The Escalade hit 100 mph before exiting I-5 at the Coburg Exit 199.
"The Escalade reached a dead end and stopped at the end of Vanduyn Street, where the suspect dropped the Escalade into reverse and rammed a police car, which had pulled into position behind it," Springfield Police said in a report.
"The masked suspect refused police commands, and after initially presenting his hands on command, ducked back into the car and entered the backseat," according to police.
His back to the officer, the suspect obtained a semi-automatic handgun and jumped into the front seat again before jumping out the front passenger window and fleeing on foot. Turning on the officers with the gun in hand, the suspect pointed the handgun at officers just as Springfield police K-9 Falko seized the suspect by the opposite wrist. This instinctive response by K-9 Falko caused the suspect to divert his attention to the K-9 and from his apparent intended attack on the officers with this loaded handgun.
The suspect began beating on the police K-9 with the handgun and the K-9 continued to bite and squeeze the suspect’s wrist in his jaws, eventually fracturing the man’s wrist and causing him to drop the gun. Officers reached the suspect and fought to gain control of him in a significant struggle with the suspect who officers believe to have been high on methamphetamine.
Meanwhile the suspect’s gun was still on the ground near the struggle and the man tried several times without success to get at the loaded gun. Officers kicked the gun away while tasing and fighting with the man who seemed to have super-human strength. The man was knocked unconscious at one point during the struggle and as officers attempted to gain control of him, the suspect came-to and again tried to get at the gun.
Police managed to take the man into custody.
The suspect is under guard at a local hospital, undergoing surgery to repair his fractured arm, police said.
Once released from the hospital, police said the suspect will be booked into the Lane County Jail on charges of:
- Unlawful Use of a Motor vehicle
- Assault II (ramming the occupied police vehicle with his vehicle)
- Assaulting a police service animal
- Assaulting a public safety officer
- Resisting arrest
- Unlawful Use of a Weapon
- Felon Possession of a firearm
- Man/Delivery controlled substance – Methamphetamine
- Possession of Burglary Tools
- Attempted Aggravated Murder – police officer
Police said the 38-year-old suspect "is believed to be a fugitive from law enforcement in another jurisdiction. Release of the name is being withheld so as not to compromise an ongoing unrelated criminal investigation."
DEVELOPING STORY | This story will be updated