Gary, IN - Lake County Sheriff's Office K9 Blade was shot during a traffic stop on Wednesday. The suspect was also shot after Blade's Lake County Sheriff's Office partner returned fire. Blade has been transported to the Purdue Veterinary Hospital.
A Gang Unit officer with the Lake County Sheriff's Department initiated a traffic stop in the 700 block of 42nd Street in Gary around 3 PM. The passenger of the silver vehicle stopped and fled west on 42nd, according to the Indiana State Police. The officer and his K9 partner pursued the passenger, who ran down an alley toward the railroad tracks.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the passenger then shot at the officer, hitting Blade in the face. "He grabbed the weapon and he saved the officer's life. There's no doubt about it. He took the bullet for the officer," said Lake County Sheriff John Buncich. The officer then returned fire and struck the fleeing passenger once. "The passenger fired at the county officer, striking his canine Blade, so the county officer returned fire and shot the passenger once," said Sergeant Ann Wojas, Indiana State Police.
Another officer arrived on scene and placed the suspect in custody, after he was disarmed. He was transported to North Lake Hospital in Gary with life-threatening injuries. The driver of the silver vehicle sped away and is still being sought by police.
K9 Blade is a 6 1/2 year old Dutch German Shepherd, who has been with the Gang Unit for four years. He was transported by police car to Purdue Veterinary Hospital in West Lafayette, where he is listed in stable condition. "He's one of our officers. That's the way we look upon him..." Buncich said. Stricter laws are currently under way in states such as Michigan for assault on K9s.
Our thoughts and prayers are with K9 Blade, his partner and the entire Lake County Sheriff's Department. Get well soon Blade.
If the suspect lives, do you think he should be charged with attempted murder of a police officer? Let us know in the comments below.