Hero Down: Bexar County Sheriff's K9 Chucky Killed By Gunman
Bexar County, TX – Bexar County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) K9 Chucky was killed in the line of duty on Friday night, after he was fatally shot by a suspect during a standoff.
K9 Chucky, a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois, was able to latch onto 38-year-old Matthew Reyes Mireles before Mireles shot him multiple times, KSAT reported.
The incident began at approximately 10 p.m., when Karnes City police tried to pull Mireles over for a traffic violation, Karnes County Sheriff Dwayne Villanueva said.
The suspect refused to stop, and instead led officers on a 30-minute pursuit through Karnes County, Sheriff Villanueva explained.
He also shot at the officers during the chase, KTSA reported.
Mireles then crossed into Bexar County, where he was pursued by two Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers and three BCSO deputies, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said, according to KSAT.
Mireles, who was wanted on multiple outstanding warrants, traveled at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour during the chase, WSB reported.
He also fired several rounds at the pursuing law enforcement officers, Sheriff Salazar told KSAT.
Mireles eventually stopped his truck in the area of Highway 151 and Loop 151, then jumped out and left his vehicle in reverse.
The truck rolled into a BCSO patrol car, and Mireles started walking down the highway firing rounds at police. He also pointed his weapon at passersby, a police helicopter, and himself, Sheriff Salazar said.
Due to the imminent threat Mireles posed, there was no time to outfit K9 Chucky in his ballistic vest before he was deployed, the department said.
"Chucky does have an issued vest, but was not able to wear it at the time," the agency explained. "The vest is not able to be worn at all times, due to overheating concerns and physical fatigue on the dog. It is intended to be placed on the dog in the event of a pre-planned operation.”
"This was not a pre-planned event, due to the deadly actions of the suspect placing the general public and officers on scene in danger of imminent death or serious bodily injury,” the department said. “Immediate actions had to be taken to ensure the suspect was stopped quickly.”
“The on-scene commander made the decision to deploy the dog to address a deadly immediate threat to the public and officers," the sheriff’s office statement read. "It does not appear the handler had an opportunity to put body armor on Chucky before the deployment."
K9 Chucky raced in and bit down on the gunman, who shot him several times, Sheriff Salazar said.
He died at the scene, WSB reported.
Officers opened fire on Mireles, hitting him in his lower extremities, according to KSAT.
He was taken to University Hospital in critical condition, and has since been charged with attempted capital murder of a police officer, interfering with a police service animal, evading arrest with a vehicle, and aggravated assault against a public servant.
Mireles has an extensive arrest history, including charges of theft, assault, driving while intoxicated, assault on a public servant, possession of a controlled substance, assault with a deadly weapon, and evading arrest, among others, KSAT reported.
He has also served several stints in prison over the years.
Sheriff Salazar said that K9 Chucky’s human partner was struggling to find the words to break the news of K9 Chucky’s death to his family, KSAT reported.
“It's a heartbreaking situation and these dogs are part of our family. They are deputies, as well,” Sheriff Salazar said, according to WSB. “Chucky went out doing what he was brought here to do, to save lives. And he undoubtedly saved lives with what he was able to accomplish in his last moments.”
Early Saturday morning, a procession of law enforcement vehicles escorted K9 Chucky’s body from the scene to Becker Animal Hospital, KSAT reported.
“We are deeply saddened for our fallen K9 Deputy Chucky, and for his handler, his human family, and the rest of the K9 unit,” the BCSO said in a Facebook post on Saturday.
The department plans to bury K9 Chucky with full honors.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bexar County Sheriff's Office in the loss of K9 Chucky.
Rest easy, hero. Your life mattered.