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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Gainesville police K-9 attacks homeless woman

The woman was unrelated to the suspect police were attempting to locate

A Gainesville Police Department K-9 unit accidentally attacked the wrong person Saturday while searching for a fleeing suspect, according to a GPD news release.

In the early morning hours of March 23, GPD was searching for a felony domestic violence suspect who fled on foot. Officers deployed the K-9 unit in accordance with department policy, according to the news release. 

The K-9 led officers to an enclosed, fenced-in area behind a business in the vicinity of 3100 NW 13th Street, where several discarded items belonging to the suspect were found. 

The handler discovered a person hiding in a patch of bushes and believed this to be the suspect. After the officer's commands went unanswered, the handler allowed the dog to make contact with the person, according to the release.

The woman turned out to be a houseless neighbor unrelated to the incident. The K-9 apprehension was immediately stopped and medical services were called. 

"This was an unfortunate and unforeseen event. In this case, the officers followed all departmental policies and protocols but encountered a person in an unfortunate and unforeseen situation," said assistant police chief Nelson Moya. 

The woman was transported to Shands Hospital and received medical care for calf and thumb puncture wounds.

"This is further evidence that safe shelter is important. GPD is continuing to work with GFR and other partners to improve safety for our houseless neighbors through community outreach,” Moya said.

This incident comes shortly after the K-9 unit was reinstated following a 10-month suspension, after Terrell Bradley lost an eye from a K9 mauling

Contact Daniel Bednar at dbednar@alligator.org. Follow him on X @Danielbednar5. 

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Daniel Bednar

Daniel Bednar is a first-year political science major and the Criminal Justice reporter for The Alligator. When he's not writing, you can find him scuba diving in the Keys or flying airplanes. 


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