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Police dog shot in the line of duty after attacking officer

Police dog shot in the line of duty after attacking officer

By Molly Waldron. CREATED May 14, 2012

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- A police dog was shot in the line of duty after attacking a Las Vegas Metro police officer instead of a suspect during a foot chase on Monday morning.

Police responded to reports of a knife-weilding man threatening residents in the area of Wisteria Avenue at about 10:30 a.m.

The suspect was running through residents' backyards, prompting officers to set up a perimeter in the area of Upland Boulevard, near Alta and Jones, to contain the man.

Police and a K-9 unit were chasing the suspect when the dog bit an officer instead of the man they were after. Another officer attempted to stop the dog, eventually shooting him to save his fellow officer. 

The injured officer was taken to University Medical Center to be treated for at least one dog bite to the arm. 

The canine, a 2-year-old Belgian Malanois by the name of Marco, survived being shot and was immediately treated by a veterinarian. After the incident, Marco underwent surgery and remained in critical condition at a K-9 trauma facility as of Monday evening. Marco has been with the Las Vegas Metro Police Dept. since January 25, 2012 and began working as a patrol dog on April 25.

"This is going to be a very traumatic incident for everyone involved," police spokesman Officer Bill Cassell said. "Police canines are thought of often as police officers. The fact that one had to be shot is going to be troubling to everybody, especially the officer who was forced to pull the trigger."

Kristina Schneider, who lives in the area, witnessed the ordeal. 

"I was shaking for a good while," Schneider said. "I was upset." 

The knife-weilding man was eventually caught and taken into police custody. Police later identified him as 18-year-old Ngyuen Hooker of Las Vegas. Hooker faces charges for obstructing a police officer and resisting a police officer.

The officer who was bitten by the dog has not yet been identified. 

Action News will continue to update this story as new information becomes available.