A manhunt is under way after a Hancock County Sheriff’s Department deputy was saved by his dog from an ambush attack by three men.
The deputy, Todd Frazier, was beaten and cut with a box cutter in Pearlington on Monday, Sheriff Ricky Adam said. If it wasn’t for his K9 partner, a black Belgian Malinois named Lucas, they might have succeeded.
“They told him they were going to slit his throat, and they were dragging him toward the woods,” Chief Deputy Don Bass said, adding that authorities believe the attackers meant to drag Frazier into the woods, kill him, and dump his body.
The car, a blue Lincoln Town Car with a darker vinyl top, was parked in a rest stop, and the driver was sitting alone inside with no lights on around 10 p.m. Monday. Frazier got out of his vehicle and went to check on the car.
“When he got out, two other people came out of the woods right by the vehicle, and he backed up and fell, and it was on then,” Adam said.
It is not clear yet if the attack was related to recent threats by gangs to attack police on sight, Adam said, “but at this point in time I don’t care. This kind of attitude has been prevailing in Washington for the last six years and now it’s coming home to roost and we’re the targets.”
Frazier suffered a two-and-a-half-inch cut to his forehead and multiple bodily injuries. The doctor told the deputy it looked like the cut was made by a box cutter.
“The three of them were dragging him toward the wooded area, and he was able to break one hand free to activate the button that opens the door and it released Lucas,” Bass said.
The dog bit at least one, probably two of the suspects, potentially saving the officer’s life. That was more than good equipment and a good dog, Adam said.
“We don’t know how many he got, we just know he had blood all over him,” Adam said.
The pop mechanism for the door is only installed in two of the county’s four K9 units, and was only recently installed, Bass said. He added that Frazier’s experience was a “very near miss.”
The suspects fled in the Town Car, which police describe as possibly a 2000 model. At least one of the suspects will have serious dog bites and the suspects may have crossed into Louisiana.
The suspects fled in the Town Car. Frazier was taken to Hancock Medical Center where he was treated and released Tuesday morning. Lucas was not injured.
Officers warned to be vigilant in wake of threats
Adam said given the attitude in the country toward law enforcement, he has been trying to prepare his deputies for the worst.
“We’ve been stressing this for months and months now. It’s no different from last week we get a BOLO from the state alerting us that the Black Gangster Disciples have put out an SOS, or ‘Shoot on Sight’ for police officers,” he said. “For a couple of months we’ve been preaching safety because we knew our location between New Orleans and on the I-10 corridor… it’s going to happen here.”
Bass agreed, saying that the near miss was a wakeup call for the department.
“It hits us hard, it brings you to your knees,” he said. “We’re not a large agency, and all these guys have families. The main thing for anybody is to go home safe, we want you to go home at night. But it could happen to any one of them, the threat is here and the possibility is real.”
It’s not an ideal time to be a law enforcement officer, Adam said.
“It’s going to happen. We’re a small county in a rural state and it’s happening here? What are the officers in cities going through? For instance, how can an officer function in the city of Jackson?” he said. “We’re under pressure every day. They can work 25 years in this business and do everything by the book and make one mistake and they’re under the microscope.”
Anyone with information in this case is asked to call the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department at (228) 255-9191.
VIA: CLARION LEDGER