Highly Decorated Massachusetts State Police K-9 Killed in Standoff
Massachusetts State Police Colonel Christopher Mason had devastating news to deliver to the public yesterday afternoon. Beloved State Police K9 Frankie was killed in the line of duty Monday morning.
It is with tremendous sadness that I announce that a Massachusetts State Police K9 was killed in the line of duty today. K9 Frankie was fatally shot during an attempt to apprehend a wanted fugitive who had barricaded himself inside at residence.
According to information provided by the Massachusetts State Police, Frankie’s handler, Sergeant David Stucenski, was thankfully not physically injured during the event/
Shortly before 9 a.m. yesterday, members of the Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section established surveillance of a multi-family house at in Fitchburg after receiving information that Matthew Mack, a 38-year-old fugitive suspect, was inside the residence. Mack was wanted on a warrant for charges of firearms offenses and accessory after the fact stemming from a shooting incident on July 21 in Fitchburg.
Fugitive Unit Troopers made verbal contact with the man, who refused to come out of the home. Based on information developed by Troopers indicating that Mack was currently armed, combined with the fact that Troopers knew the wanted man had a propensity for violence, the Massachusetts State Police Special Tactical Operations responded to the scene at approximately noon and established tactical positions.
According to a release from the State Police, members of the State Police Crisis Negotiation Unit also responded to the scene and established communication with Mack via telephone. There were multiple conversations had with Mack, as well as with members of his family whom they contacted, in an attempt to persuade him to surrender peacefully.
After hours of a standoff, at approximately 2:48 p.m., Troopers spotted Mack at a rear exit of the home and it was then a decision was made to try to apprehend him.
Sergeant Stucenski along with K9 Frankie, who were assigned to the STOP Team, approached the area where they believed the fugitive was located. During the attempt to apprehend him, Mack fired multiple shots toward team members and struck Frankie. before retreating back into the residence.
STOP Team members immediately picked up Frankie and evacuated him from the scene to an ambulance, at which point he was transported to Wachusett Animal Hospital in Westminster, where he was pronounced deceased.
Meanwhile, at the Fitchburg residence, negotiators were not able to establish further contact with the suspect. At approximately 5:20 p.m., the State Police Drone Unit deployed an unmanned aerial vehicle on the exterior of the building at 40 Oliver St. The drone made visual observation of the suspect deceased inside the house from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot.
Frankie was a Belgian Malinois who would have turned 11 years old next month. He
was a highly decorated member of the Massachusetts State Police for nine years.
In 2014, then Trooper Stucenski and Frankie won three awards from the United States Police Canine Association for evidence recovery, agility, and other law enforcement skills.
In 2017, he and Sergeant Stucenski were awarded the Medal of Valor at the state’s annual George L. Hanna Awards for Bravery, the state’s top law enforcement award ceremony. They were honored for apprehending a hit-and-run suspect who, during a foot chase, turned and fired a shot at Sergeant Stucenski and Frankie as they pursued him on a Springfield street. The shot missed the Sergeant and Frankie and Frankie apprehended him. Sergeant Stucenski and Frankie won the State Police Medal of Merit for that same incident.
Just last month Sergeant Stucenski and Frankie were again honored along with other members of the Special Tactical Operations Team for apprehending an armed child pornography suspect who had opened fire on them when they went to arrest him at a West Springfield motel in 2019.
Frankie is the first Massachusetts State Police canine killed in the line of duty. His sacrifice will never be forgotten.
Frankie had every trait we seek in a good law enforcement officer, canine or human: intelligence, immense courage, and dedication to protecting the public. He was as loyal a partner as any Trooper ever had.
He was a beloved member of the Massachusetts State Police family and the Stucenski family. He was, as much as any human of the member of the Department, one of us and part of us. When one of our K9s pass – until today, never in the line of duty – our K9 handlers have a saying. “Free Time.” It means that these brave dogs who work so hard to protect the rest of us have earned their eternal peace.
Free time and Godspeed, Frankie
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