When Hancock County Sheriff's Deputy Todd Frazier saw a lone car at a rest stop along a remote stretch of Mississippi's Highway 90 last week—with an unmoving driver inside—he pulled over to investigate, leaving K-9 partner Lucas in the car. What Frazier wasn't expecting: Two other men jumping him from the shadows as he approached. "The deputy tripped and fell to the ground as he was backing away from the vehicle," a sheriff's investigator tells CNN. "That's when all three male subjects, including the driver, ambushed him, cut him on the forehead with a sharp object and dragged him into the woods." What those men weren't expecting: Lucas. Frazier was able to hit the button on a device around his neck releasing the black Belgian Malinois, who promptly did his job, ABC News reports.
Lucas bit the attackers and all three escaped in the car—though Lucas was still attached to the leg of one as they drove off. He ultimately had to let go, and the three suspects are still at large. As for Lucas and Frazier, both suffered injuries—chipped teeth and a bruised shoulder for the dog, bruises and a gash for the human—but are expected to be fine. "Frazier is ... an excellent dog handler—he trained Lucas himself," the sheriff notes. He told the Sun Herald last week that the department just set up the remote release device last month, and "it definitely saved his life." Added the sheriff's investigator, who says the suspects were going for Frazier's gun, "It seems like they were trying to take him back to the woods. They were going to dispose of him. They were going to finish him." Lucas has been swabbed for possible DNA from the suspects, the paper notes. (Another officer was recently killed the day before her maternity leave was to start.)