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Massachusetts State Police K9 shot and killed saving handler’s life



Photo courtesy of State Police Association of Massachusetts

According to the State Police Association of Massachusetts, earlier today, Massachusetts State Police K-9 Frankie was shot in the line of duty during a mission with the STOP Team. He was rushed to Wachusett Animal Hospital where he tragically died as a result of his injuries.

K9 Frankie was fatally shot during an attempt to apprehend a wanted fugitive who had barricaded himself inside a residence. Frankie’s handler, Sergeant David Stucenski, was not physically injured.

According to Massachusetts State Police, the sequence of events that led to this tragic line of duty loss of a member of the Massachusetts State Police family began this morning.

Shortly before 9 a.m. today members of the Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section established surveillance of a three-story multi-family house at 40 Oliver St., Fitchburg after developing information that fugitive suspect Matthew Mack, 38, was at that location.

Mack was wanted on warrants charging him firearms offenses and accessory after the fact to stemming from a shooting incident July 21 in Fitchburg. State Police fugitive unit Troopers joined the investigation to assist Fitchburg Police locate Mack.

Fugitive Unit Troopers made verbal contact with Mack, who refused to exit the house. 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.

Negotiators from the State Police Crisis Negotiation Unit also responded to the scene and established communication with Mack via telephone. Negotiators had multiple conversations with Mack, as well as with members of his family whom they contacted, in an attempt to persuade him to surrender peacefully.

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. Trooper Stucenski and K9 Frankie, who are assigned to the STOP Team, approached the area where Mack was observed. During the attempt to apprehend him, Mack fired multiple shots toward team members and struck Frankie. The suspect then retreated back into the residence.

STOP Team members immediately picked up Frankie and evacuated him from the scene to an ambulance, where he was transported to Wachusett Animal Hospital in Westminster, where he was pronounced deceased.

Meanwhile, negotiators were not able to establish further contact with the suspect. At approximately 5:20 p.m., while the STOP Team was planning further operations to resolve the situation, the State Police Drone Unit deployed an unmanned aerial vehicle on the exterior of the building at 40 Oliver St. The drone made visual observation of the suspect deceased inside the house from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot. No police officers fired their weapons during the incident.

Frankie was a Belgian Malinois. He would have turned 11 years old next month. He was a member of the Department for about nine years.

Frankie was a highly decorated member of the Massachusetts State Police. In 2017, he and Trooper 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. They were honored for apprehending a hit-and-run suspect who, during a foot chase, turned and fired a shot at Trooper Stucenski and Frankie as they pursued him on a Springfield Street. The shot missed the Trooper and Frankie and Frankie apprehended him. Trooper Stucenski and Frankie won the State Police Medal of Merit for that same incident.

In 2014, Trooper Stucenski and Frankie won three awards from the United States Police Canine Association for evidence recovery, agility, and other law enforcement skills.
And only last month, the Department honored Trooper 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.

When Frankie was transported by Fitchburg EMS to an ambulance to an animal hospital this afternoon, it was the first instance of such emergency care made possible by Nero’s Law, which was passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Baker last year.

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

SPAM released the following statement.

“As K-9 Frankie did hundreds of times before, he placed himself between our members and a dangerous subject. However, today this resulted in his ultimate sacrifice, something we will forever remember.”

“K-9 Frankie was ten years old at the time of his death and his service to the Commonwealth was nothing short of incredible. As one of the first K-9s to join the tactical program with the STOP Team, he has participated in hundreds of missions and undoubtedly saved countless lives. In 2017, K-9 Frankie and his handler were awarded the Medal of Valor during the George L. Hanna Awards for Bravery ceremony for the apprehension of a gunman. In this incident, the suspect opened fire on K-9 Frankie and his handler, and without hesitation, K-9 Frankie charged the gunman, disarming him and saving his handler’s life.”

“Today we mourn the killing of our coworker, friend, and fellow member of the Massachusetts State Police. We ask for privacy and respect for K-9 Frankie, his handler, family, and those who knew him during this heartbreaking time. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to all the first responders and medical staff who tried their hardest to save K-9 Frankie’s life.”

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jake Perry

    July 26, 2022 at 7:38 pm

    Frankie was much braver than the coward known as Matthew Mack.

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