CROSSVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The Crossville Police Department said a K-9 officer has died after being stabbed while responding to a report of a stolen tractor trailer.
Dispatch received a call around 4:45 a.m. about a semi-truck that sideswiped a vehicle traveling north on Highway 68 near Grassy Cove. When a deputy tried to stop the semi-truck near Hwy 68 and Hwy 127, the driver, Dustin Lee Dixon, tried to strike the patrol car.
The pursuit led to a dirt road near Genesis Road and Obed River. Dixon crashed the truck into a tree and tried to flee on foot.
K-9 Officer Cain went after the suspect. The report says Dixon stabbed the dog multiple times in the chest. Crossville police say K-9 Cain returned to his handler injured and was then rushed to a clinic for help. Later in the day, K-9 Cain was transferred to UT Veterinary Hospital where he ultimately passed away.
“It broke my heart. I mean, they’re just like a partner to the officers they’re riding with and best friend I’m sure,” said retired state trooper Anthony Tollett.
“It’s not something I like to hear because I’m a dog lover myself. That’s a man’s companion,” added Brandon Levine.
Investigators say it’s ultimately up to the district attorney’s office on if they’ll file assault on an officer charges.
“It makes me hope that they can punish him just like if it was a police officer. Because in my eyes, they are a police officer. They risk their lives,” said Tollett.
Cain served with the Crossville Police Department for three years with his handler Lt. Bart Riden. All of their K-9s are all working patrol dogs. They’re trained in narcotics but have the ability to sniff out some explosives.
Dixon is being held at the Cumberland County Justice Center. Investigators say the semi-truck was recently reported stolen from a business in Crossville.
“Please keep the Crossville Police Department and Lt. Riden in your thoughts and prayers,” the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.