FITCHBURG - Massachusetts State Police K9 Frankie was shot and killed on Tuesday during a stand off with a wanted fugitive at a three-story multi-family home in Fitchburg.
Frankie is the first Massachusetts State Police canine killed in the line of duty.
In a statement released on Tuesday evening, MSP Colonel Christopher Mason said, "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. Frankie’s handler, Trooper David Stucenski, was not physically injured."
— Mass State Police (@MassStatePolice) July 26, 2022
According to Mason's statement, members of the MSP Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section was surveilling the multi-family home at 40 Oliver St. in Fitchburg around 9 AM on Tuesday after receiving information that Matthew Mack, 38, of Fitchburg, was at the location.
Mack was wanted on warrants for firearms offenses and accessory after the fact from a shooting on July 21 in Fitchburg.
Troopers made contact with Mack, who refused to leave the house. Mack was armed and police had reason to believe he had a propensity for violence. The MSP Special Tactical Operations responded to the scene around 12 PM and established tactical positions. Negotiators from the MSP Crisis Negotiation Unit also responded to the scene and established communication with Mack via telephone.
Negotiators had multiple conversations with Mack and with members of his family whom they contacted, in hopes to persuade him to surrender peacefully.
Just before 3 PM, police observed Mack near a rear exit of the home and Trooper Stucenski and K9 Frankie, who are assigned to the STOP Team, approached the rear exit to apprehend Mack.
Mack fired multiple shots toward team members and struck Frankie. The suspect then retreated back into the residence.
STOP Team members picked up K9 Frankie and evacuated him from the scene to an ambulance. K9 Frankie was taken to Wachusett Animal Hospital in Westminster where he was pronounced deceased.
Hours later, just before 5:30 PM, the State Police Drone Unit deployed an unmanned aerial vehicle on the exterior of the home. The drone identified Mack deceased inside the house from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot.
No police officers fired their weapons during the incident.
Frankie was a 10-year-old Belgian Malinois. and a member of the MSP for about nine years. Frankie was a highly decorated member of the MSP. In 2017, he and Trooper 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 Trooper Stucenski and Frankie as they pursued him on a Springfield street. The shot missed the Trooper and Frankie and Frankie apprehended him. Trooper Stucenski and Frankie won the State Police Medal of Merit for that same incident.
In 2014, Trooper Stucenski and Frankie won three awards from the United States Police Canine Association for evidence recovery, agility, and other law enforcement skills.
In June 2022, Trooper Stucenski and Frankie and other members of the Special Tactical Operations Team were honored 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.
When Frankie was transported by Fitchburg EMS to an ambulance to an animal hospital this afternoon, it was the first instance of such emergency care made possible by Nero’s Law, which was passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Charlie Baker in 2021.
Lead image: K9 Frankie/Courtesy: Massachusetts State Police