Officer Jim Gibson
Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office
LYNNWOOD – Moments after capturing an alleged drug dealer who tried to flee authorities Tuesday night, a Snohomish County sheriff’s K-9 dog wandered into freeway traffic and was struck and killed. Now deputies are trying to determine if the suspect they arrested hurt the 3-year-old German shepherd named Recon, causing the dog to become confused.
The incident happened between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. on I-5 near 44th Street in Lynnwood.Recon and his handler, sheriff’s deputy Jim Gibson, were assisting the Snohomish Regional Narcotics Task Force in a drug bust at a nearby park-and-ride lot when the suspect broke loose.
The suspect, an Alaska man, ran off, climbed a 7-foot fence and crossed six lanes of freeway traffic, before the dog was able to catch and stop him.Gibson, arrived a short time later and called the 3-year-old dog away from the man.
“(Recon) just looked like he was dazed… like I’ve never seen him before,” Gibson said, adding he thinks his partner may have been choked before roaming into traffic.
“It’s like losing a son,” Gibson said of the dog, who had lived with his family for more than a year. It’s also like losing a deputy, Sheriff Rick Bart said. “In every way I considered Recon one of my deputies. I will aggressively look for a charge against this man, if he assaulted my deputy.”
It is a felony to assault a law enforcement officer – that includes a police dog.
The woman driver who struck Recon is very upset too, Bart said. She was driving at normal freeway speeds, but there was nothing she could have done to avoid the accident, he said, adding he’s glad she wasn’t injured.
The suspect was treated at Stevens Hospital in Edmonds for minor dog bite wounds and booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of delivery of a controlled substance and several outstanding warrants, said sheriff’s Lt. Dan Howard.
Authorities confiscated approximately 1 kilo of cocaine. The suspect allegedly flew in from Alaska to make the delivery at the park-and-ride lot, where he was met by authorities, Howard said.