TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A Tucson Police Department K9 named Blitz, was stabbed twice with a homemade knife during the capture of a suspect in an earlier bank robbery. Despite the wound the canine was able to ‘get his man’ following a chase.
“I lost sight of Blitz around the corner of the trailer,” said his handler Officer Mike Doyle. “When I caught up to him I could see he was being punched by the suspect.”
Even though Blitz was wounded, he never let his guard down and continued to engage the suspect while officers took him into custody.
“I could see blood on Blitz’s neck,” Doyle said. “He had two stab wounds on the back of his neck.”
Blitz was rushed to the VCA Valley Animal Hospital for emergency surgery, which lasted about an hour. He was stitched up and had a tube inserted into his neck for drainage.
The incident happened in the 4800 block of East Pima Street around 2 a.m. Wednesday, May 15, as TPD officers located a suspect in an armed bank robbery, identified as 27-year-old Frank K. Garcia. According to TPD Garcia was wanted in connection to the robbery of a US Bank on May 10.
According to police, Blitz is likely the reason the suspect and possibly a police officer are still alive.
The dog was released to chase the suspect who was running into a nearby residential neighborhood armed with a knife, a potentially dangerous situation.
Blitz tackled the suspect and knocked him to the ground. It was likely the best outcome to a bad situation.
“I truly believe that if it were an officer who tackled the suspect and not the dog, that an officer would have gotten stabbed last night,” Doyle said. “And I’m sure if that happened, then the outcome for the suspect would have been worse.”
While the officers had their weapons in hand, by the time they arrived Blitz had been stabbed, but had also disarmed the suspect.
If the suspect brandished the weapon or stabbed an officer he would likely have been shot and killed.
“Absolutely,” said Doyle.
So Blitz, who was following orders, likely saved the life of the suspect and possibly the life of or at least a life-threatening injury to a police officer.
“Potentially,” said Doyle.
When asked how Blitz was doing, Doyle answered, “He’s okay, he’s good, he’s tough."
Garcia has been booked into the Pima County Jail on the following charges - Armed Robbery and Aggravated Assault on a Peace Officer.