Mass. Fugitive Fatally Shoots K-9 Police Dog Before Turning the Gun on Himself During Police Standoff

The shooter, 38-year-old Matthew Mack, fired multiple shots at officers

Massachusetts State Police K-9 Frankie was shot in the line of duty during a mission with the STOP Team in Fitchburg
Frankie. Photo: State Police Association of Massachusetts Facebook

A K-9 officer was fatally shot during an hours-long standoff with a fugitive that ended when the suspect took his own life.

In a statement, the Massachusetts State Police confirmed that Frankie, a 10-year-old Belgian Malinois who had been a police dog for nine years, was killed on Tuesday.

The statement calls Frankie's death as a "tragic line of duty loss of a member of the Massachusetts State Police family."

The animal was shot dead shortly before 3 p.m. by 38-year-old Matthew Mack, the statement says.

Hours early, just before 9 a.m., "members of the Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section established surveillance of a three-story multi-family house" in Fitchburg after learning Mack was there.

Police had been looking for Mack, who was wanted on warrants charging him with firearms offenses and accessory after the fact related to a July 21 shooting in Fitchburg.

Troopers "made verbal contact" with Mack, who told them he would not be exiting the residence.

"Based on information developed by Troopers indicating that Mack was currently armed, as well as current intelligence that indicated a propensity for violence, the Massachusetts State Police Special Tactical Operations responded to the scene at approximately noon and established tactical positions," the statement explains.

Negotiators were called in to reason with the barricaded Mack and persuade him to surrender, the statement notes.

"At approximately 2:48 p.m., Mack was observed at a rear exit of the residence and a decision was made to try to apprehend him," the statement continues. As part of the Massachusetts State Police's Special Tactical Operations team, Frankie's handler, Sergeant David Stucenski, "and K9 Frankie ... approached the area where Mack was observed."

As they tried to arrest him, "Mack fired multiple shots toward team members and struck Frankie."

Stucenski was not injured in the shooting.

"The suspect then retreated back into the residence," according to the statement. "STOP Team members immediately picked up Frankie and evacuated him from the scene to an ambulance, at which point he was transported to Wachusett Animal Hospital in Westminster, where he was pronounced deceased."

Afterwards, negotiators were unable to re-establish contact with Mack, and at abouty 5:20 p.m., the decision was made to deploy "an unmanned aerial vehicle on the exterior of the building."

With the drone, police spotted Mack's body. He died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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"Frankie was a highly decorated member of the Massachusetts State Police," the statement says. "In 2017, he and Sergeant Stucenski were awarded the Medal of Valor at the state's annual George L. Hanna Awards for Bravery, the state's top law enforcement award ceremony," for "apprehending a hit-and-run suspect."

In 2014, Frankie and his handler won three awards from the United States Police Canine Association for evidence recovery, agility, and other law enforcement skills.

"And only last month, our Department honored Sergeant Stucenski and Frankie and other members of the Special Tactical Operations Team for apprehending an armed child pornography suspect who had opened fire on them when they went to arrest him at a West Springfield motel in 2019," the statement continues.

It adds: "Frankie had every trait we seek in a good law enforcement officer, canine or human: intelligence, immense courage, and dedication to protecting the public."

Frankie is the first Massachusetts State Police canine to be killed in the line of duty.

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