Plymouth, Mass. — A Plymouth Police K-9 was shot and killed by its handler on Tuesday morning. According to officials, the K-9 team was on scene getting ready to track someone when the dog attacked its handler.
The officer allegedly tried to get the dog under control but had to shoot it for safety reasons. That officer, who has been identified as Officer Keith Larson, was transported to South Shore Hospital with injuries to his hands. That dog, identified as K-9 Nico, died at the scene.
Officer Larson and K-9 Nico were just called to help track a person who ran from police. Officer Larson stopped at a parking lot to suit Nico up in his vest before they arrived on scene. That’s when police said Nico attacked Officer Larson.
Lori Medeiros heard the gunshots.
“I think it was about three gunshots fired. I looked out and I saw the police officer on the ground,” Medeiros said.
Police said Officer Larson tried to get Nico under control but when the dog latched on to his hand, Officer Larson pulled his weapon and shot and killed Nico.
“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,” Medeiros said.
Plymouth Police Chief Michael Botieri gave a briefing at police headquarters.
“It happened in less than 30-45 seconds, which is a long time that he had to go through that. I’m sure you realize it is difficult to for a K-9 officer to dispatch their own dog like that,” Chief Botieri said.
Officer Larson is a 17-year veteran of the department and has been a K-9 officer for three years. Back in April, the chief said Nico bit Officer Larson during a similar deployment. Larson and Nico were re-assigned for more training at the Sheriff’s Department K-9 Academy and recertified in July of 2020.
“The report we got from the Sheriff’s Department is that they were working together as a team and no issues,” Chief Botieri said.
The chief said Officer Larson’s record is exemplary and they are hoping he makes a quick recovery.
“It’s always difficult to see any of your officers injured. We feel bad about that,” Chief Botieri said.
Officer Larson has injuries to both of his hands. The chief said they are expecting him to be released from the hospital Tuesday night.
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