BRISTOL — A homicide suspect was tackled by a Kenosha County Sheriff's Office K9 and shot and injured by deputies during an encounter Thursday morning, Sheriff David G. Beth said.
The sheriff said during a press conference that K9 Riggs was also injured during the incident and is now undergoing surgery. The suspect, who remains unidentified by authorities, is also in the hospital undergoing surgery. Beth said "multiple" deputies fired their weapons. A statement from the department states the suspect shot and hit K9 Riggs.
The sheriff explained that the incident began just after 11 a.m. Thursday near the Benson Corners gas station on Highway 50, as deputies searched for a stolen vehicle connected to a homicide in Chicago.
Deputies found the vehicle and attempted a high-risk traffic stop. Beth said deputies ordered the suspect to put up his hands and drop a handgun he had. The sheriff said he refused and took off running.
That is when deputies released K9 Riggs, who ran after the suspect. At some point the suspect fired his weapon and hit the K9. Kenosha County deputies then returned fire, hitting the suspect. Beth said Riggs was able to take the suspect to the ground, where deputies handcuffed him and gave first aid.
“Riggs was released and captured the suspect just before running onto Highway 50 while the suspect still had the gun in his hand. And Riggs took the suspect to the ground. Riggs unfortunately sustained a bullet wound to the forehead,” said Beth.
Beth said "multiple" deputies fired their weapons, and that they are now on administrative leave per protocol. The suspect was hit in the abdomen and the leg. Riggs was injured in the head, Beth said.
"Outstanding job and in a lot of ways he is a hero today," Sheriff Beth said of K9 Riggs.
Riggs' handler, Deputy Terry Tifft, told Sheriff Beth that he expects K9 Riggs to survive, but that it it unlikely the German Shepherd will return to active service. Riggs has served with the department for as many as six years, Beth said.
The sheriff could only say at this time that the suspect, a white man, was wanted for a homicide in Chicago. He was driving the homicide victim's car during the incident, Beth said.
Body camera footage is now being reviewed. The Racine County Sheriff's Department is investigating the incident.
Westbound Highway 50 remains blocked off as the investigation into the incident continues.
Andrew Bailey lives across the street from the gas station and he works there. He was getting ready to go into his shift for work around 11:15 a.m. when he heard some loud bangs.
“I only heard like one or two of them though,” said Bailey. “I got nervous for a good second, don’t get me wrong."
Bailey was shocked a suspect in a murder ended up right outside his house.
“It is very surprising, especially near Bristol of all places,” said Bailey.
According to the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, this is the 19th officer-involved shooting this year in Wisconsin.