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Suspect on the loose after attempting to drown police K9

Posted at 1:34 PM, Nov 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-06 13:40:03-05

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Deputies are searching for a man who got away after a police chase in which he reportedly attempted to drown a K9.

According to the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office, 37-year-old Matthew Johnson and another suspect were detained on Friday as part of an investigation into a theft at the 7-Eleven store on Tamiami Trail in Port Charlotte.

Deputies say Johnson fled from them on a bike but was tracked near a canal in the area.  Deputies say Johnson refused to comply with orders and began to reach for his backpack.  That's when K9 Sparta was sent in.

Sparta grabbed Johnson by the arm, but the suspect dragged the dog into the water and started pushing him underwater.


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Sparta released from the suspect and was pulled to safety while Johnson swam across the canal and got away.

Johnson is now wanted by the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office on the following charges:

  • Retail Theft
  • Resisting an Officer without Violence
  • Offenses Against a Police Dog

If you have information on the whereabouts of Matthew Johnson, please contact the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office. You can also contact Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477). Tips to Crime Stoppers are anonymous and eligible for a cash reward if the information leads to an arrest.