JACKSON, MS -- As three men beat and cut a deputy checking on a car at a highway rest stop, his partner - on all four of legs - came to the rescue.
K-9 officer Lucas, a black Belgian Malinois, saved Todd Frazier's life during the attack Monday in coastal Mississippi, authorities said.
Frazier had stopped to check on a parked car about 10 p.m. in Pearlington, Hancock County Chief Deputy Don Bass said. Frazier thought he saw a stranded motorist, but when he approached the car, two men came out of the dark and jumped him with a box cutter, Bass said. The driver joined the fight.
Frazier had a remote control around his neck and as he was being dragged toward the woods, he clicked open the door of his patrol car, releasing Lucas.
"He got after somebody real good," Bass said.
As he attacked the men, Lucas chipped some teeth and suffered road rash and other injuries as he was dragged around the pavement. The men fled in a blue Lincoln Town Car with a darker vinyl top.
Both Lucas and Frazier are recovering. Bass expects Frazier back at work next week and his K-9 partner in a couple of months.
Frazier's patrol car is one of two K-9 cruisers equipped with the remote door lock, but it did not have a dashboard camera, Bass said.
No arrests have been made. The area is not well-traveled at night, so there were no eyewitnesses, Bass said.
But he said blood that was found on the scene and on Lucas is undergoing DNA testing. Officials are offering a reward and encouraging people to call in tips.
"We're actively pursuing this and don't intend to stop until we bring closure," he said.