TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Tampa police officer shot a man who police say threw a flaming accelerant on the officer and a K9 officer.
At 10:53 a.m. on Thursday, the Tampa Police Department received a report of a burglary in progress.
Officers responded to a call about a burglary in progress at 1022 E 25th Ave.
After arriving at the house, officers noticed that a window on the side of the house was broken. A police department spokesperson said that officers also recognized a car parked outside the house as belonging to a man with an extensive criminal record and outstanding warrants.
Three officers entered the house where they encountered the suspect, Joey Antonio Kennedy, age 40.
K9 Indo went after Kennedy who tossed a flaming accelerant on the K9 and on the K9 officer.
Fearing for his life, K9 Officer Tim Bergman opened fire, striking the suspect.
K9 Indo received burns on the head. The officer was able to extinguish the flames and was uninjured. K9 Indo will recover from the burns and will be okay, according to a TPD spokesperson.
“Clearly there’s a bond ya know, that you and I probably have no idea how deep that is between the K9 officer and the dog. And there has to be, because they’re both walking into very dangerous situations. We saw that today” said Steve Hegarty.
The wanted felon is accused of tossing ignited “Kilz” brand paint primer, on the officer and police dog.
Outside the home, News Channel 8 spotted Officer Bergman with spots of “Kilz” all over his shirt, arm and pants.
Animal advocate, Megan Trethewey doesn’t hold back when she hears about officers, human or canine, hurt by bad guys. “You have this individual, this scum of the earth that needs to be off the street” said Trethewey.
“There are two officers that were hurt today in the line of duty because this guy just did not want to get caught. He had no respect for life. For either life, either police officers out there” she said.
Kennedy will likely survive his injuries. “Hopefully, soon both the police officer and the dog will be able to go back to the job and do what they love doing” said Trethewey.
Neighbors like Josh Velazguez said despite some crime, they’re not scared to live in the neighborhood.
“I’ve lived in a lot worse places,” he told News Channel 8, standing just one block away from the crime scene.
But long-time resident Carmelo Santana said things aren’t going to get better any time soon.
“Yeah,” he told News Channel 8. “Getting worse and not better. It’s gonna get worse and not better, you know?”
K9 Officer Bergman was placed on administrative leave, as is standard in such cases. He has been with TPD for 12 years.
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