HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - A Hancock County canine officer is recovering after authorities say he was stabbed while pursuing a suspect through the woods Tuesday afternoon.
It all started around 2 p.m. when a sheriff's deputy tried to stop a vehicle on Highway 603 near I-10. Authorities say the vehicle refused to stop at first but came to a halt just west of exit 13 shortly after getting onto the interstate.
When the vehicle came to a stop, the driver reportedly jumped out and ran into a wooded, swampy area.
Once backup arrived, deputies pursued the suspect into the woods north of the interstate. Canine deputy Loco, the department’s canine officer, was called and began tracking the man, leading deputies through the wetlands until they reached the suspect.
Authorities say the suspect was told multiple times to surrender and warned that the dog would be released if he did not. Despite those warnings, the suspect turned and ran, fleeing further into the woods.
Deputy Loco's handler released the dog after the suspect and said he quickly lost sight of them both. The handler kept calling commands for the dog to return but it didn't.
Multiple deputies were sent into the woods to try and locate the canine officer and the suspect. While searching, deputies saw the suspect run across Highway 603 into another wooded area. The dog was still nowhere to be found.
While deputies continued searching for the suspect and the canine officer, a private citizen found Deputy Loco around 4:30 p.m. near a road to a nearby hunting club. The canine officer had been stabbed in his abdomen. Deputy Loco was rushed to a local veterinarian and immediately taken into surgery.
At 6:20 p.m., the suspect, 30-year-old Jeremy Mitchell, was captured by deputies while trying to run across I-10. The three other people in the car with Mitchell were also arrested after authorities say felony amounts of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia were found in the vehicle.
Mitchell was charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, possession of a controlled substance, tampering with evidence, felony eluding and multiple traffic violations. Brittany Dawn Adams, Joseph Ingram Jr., and Gina Amily Mitchell were also arrested and are each facing one charge of possession of a controlled substance.
Authorities say Deputy Loco is expected to make a full recovery.