Weatherford Democrat

March 6, 2013

Mass. police dog fires pistol


CNHI News Service

LAWRENCE, Mass. — A Massachusetts police dog searching for a stolen Ruger buried in a snowbank not only found the pistol but also managed to fire it with a paw early Sunday morning.

No one was injured after Ivan, a specially trained police dog, pawed through the snowbank, found the weapon and fired a bullet into a home at 82 Crescent St., according to a police report.

Ivan, a canine handled by Lt. John Pickles of the Essex County Sheriff’s Department, was called to Lawrence, Mass. to help police find the Ruger after it was buried in the snow by a Lawrence man.

Officer Jeff Hart said he was parked on Reservoir Street, near the city barn, when he heard three gunshots coming from the front of the building around 2 a.m. He pulled to the front of the barn and saw a gray Honda Accord with three males inside driving away, he said.

When Hart pulled behind the Accord and started to follow it, “the vehicle fled at a high rate of speed.”

At an intersection Hart said the driver pulled over. Jose Calderon, 28, jumped out the back of the Accord, ran to the opposite side of the road and started “burying something in the snow.” Then Calderon ran back to the car, Hart wrote.

Once back up units and two canine officers from the Essex County Sheriff’s Department arrived, Calderon and two other men, Alexander Gonzalez, 21, and Jorge Henriquez, 26, were all ordered out of the Accord at gunpoint.

Inside the car, Hart found a 9 mm bullet casing on the back seat where Calderon had been sitting, he wrote. Hart then told the canine officers where Calderon had buried something in the snow.

Pickles’ dog Ivan “pawed at the snow, at which time a shot was discharged from the buried firearm,” Hart wrote.

Police woke up the residents at 82 Crescent and made sure no one was harmed.

“The firearm likely discharged when K-9 Ivan contacted the trigger while trying to narrow his search,” Hart wrote.

Officer Christopher Bussey then cleared the pistol and made sure it safe.

“I did not know if there was something wrong with the firearm at that time and did not want to risk another discharge,” Hart wrote. Bussey “also removed a bullet casing from the chamber that failed to eject when discharged while buried in the snow.”