SAGINAW (WJRT) (02/09/2020) - A 48-year-old man has died after being shot by police.
It happened early Sunday morning when a disturbance call turned into a hostage situation.
Just after 8:00 Sunday morning, Saginaw Police entered the home and rescued the person being held. During the rescue, however, the suspect stabbed K9 Officer 'Deebo' in the head with a knife.
That's when officers opened, killing the suspect.
Due to protocol, the involved officers have been placed on administrative leave and the investigation is now turned over to Michigan State Police.
Saginaw Police Chief Bob Ruth says this incident progressed very quickly.
"From the time span that I gathered, the officers were there for maybe 15 to 20 minutes before the incident became grave," Ruth said.
As for Deebo, he was treated at a local veterinary hospital. His condition is currently unknown.
Deebo isn't just a K9 police officer, he's also a friend of the community. When he isn't working, he's building relationships in schools and safety expos.
The 5-year-old German Shepard is from Czechoslovakia. He joined the Saginaw Police Department in 2016 and is certified in human tracking, narcotics, criminal apprehension, and handler protection.
K9 officers like Deebo cost about $13,000, paid for in part by strong community support.
"He helps protect our officers. He helps to assist our officers at crime scenes, taking suspects into custody," Ruth said.
Deebo can be a big, bad dog when he's protecting officers, but when he isn't working, he's just a normal dog who is adored by the community.
"We come to spend a lot of time with these dogs, and they're not just dogs. These dogs go home with their handlers. They become part of the family," Jody Wilk said. Wilk is the President of the Saginaw Valley Police Canine Association.
Crowds are ecstatic to see the police dog at work like at K9 Demonstrations where people experience how K9s assist police first hand.
Deebo also engages with youth in the community while in schools.
"These kids know who this dog is. He's in the schools. He's doing demonstrations and teaching kids what the police officers do and building relationships like that," Wilk said.
That's why it was terrifying for people hearing that Deebo was injured in the line of duty Sunday morning.
"There was an incident that occurred further in the home where the suspect was armed with a knife, and one of our K-9…"
Chief Ruth fought to get the words out about what happened to Deebo on Sunday during a press conference.
"Deebo was stabbed in the — excuse me — in the head this morning with a knife."
For those looking to donate, you can visit the Saginaw Valley Police Canine Association Facebook page or send get well cards and wishes to the Saginaw Police Department.
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