• Frankie was looking for a wanted fugitive with his handler when he was shot
  • The K9 had served with the Massachusetts State Police for 9 years
  • MSP Colonel Christopher Mason announced his death

Fitchburg, Massachusetts -- Police K9 Frankie who aided the Massachusetts State Police (MSP) for nine years died Tuesday during a standoff with a wanted criminal. Frankie is the first MSP canine to be killed in the line of duty.

The incident occurred when members of the MSP Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section were monitoring a three-story house at 40 Oliver St. in Fitchburg. The operation began around 9 a.m. Tuesday after cops received information that Fitchburg local Matthew Mack was in hiding at the property that was occupied by multiple families.

Mack had barricaded himself in a third-floor apartment of the building which is situated next to the Fitchburg Police Department's headquarters. He was wanted on warrants for firearms offenses and accessory after the fact concerning a shooting incident in the city that occurred on July 21.

At 2:50 p.m., Frankie and his handler State Police Sergeant David Stucenski entered the home to arrest Mack. The pair were shot multiple times by Mack who was hiding near the backdoor of the home. Frankie had sustained gunshot wounds while Stucenski stayed unharmed.

Troopers rushed him to Westminster's Wachusett Animal Hospital in an ambulance where he was pronounced dead.

Nero's law allows police dogs to be transported by EMS. The bill was passed in February 2021, and named after a Yarmouth police dog who died due to laws that prohibited treatment or transportation of K9s by emergency personnel.

As for Mack, negotiators from the State Police Crisis Negotiation Unit tried to contact him, urging him to surrender. His family was contacted to further the efforts.

After a point, negotiators couldn't contact Mack and at 5:20 p.m., the State Police Drone Unit observed him lying dead inside the house from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot.

MSP Colonel Christopher Mason acknowledged Frankie's death in a statement Tuesday evening. "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."

Frankie was a highly decorated police dog and a beloved member of the MSP. "He was, as much as any human of the member of the Department, one of us and part of us," Mason said, adding that Frankie had now earned eternal peace.

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#RipFrankie was trending on Twitter for hours after the MSP's sad announcement. "RIP Frankie, thank you for your service. Run free and Godspeed," a tweet read.

"RIP K-9 Frankie thank you for your service. Deepest Sympathy to all who love Frankie" wrote another.

"So very sad to lose a pet, no matter the circumstances RIP Frankie Until we meet again," tweeted another.

police dog
This is a representational image of a police dog crawling through obstacles during trials in Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, July 2, 2010. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin