K9 Frankie killed while apprehending fugitive in Fitchburg

K9 Frankie
K9 Frankie(Massachusetts State Police)
Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 7:59 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 26, 2022 at 8:01 PM EDT
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FITCHBURG, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - A Massachusetts State Police K9 was killed in the line of duty in Fitchburg Tuesday morning.

According to a spokesperson for the Massachusetts State Police, K9 Frankie was shot and killed during an attempt to apprehend a wanted fugitive barricaded inside a Fitchburg home. He was the first Massachusetts State Police K9 killed during the line of duty.

On Tuesday morning, the Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section received information that 38-year-old Matthew Mack was located inside a three-story, multi-family home on Oliver Street in Fitchburg. They set up surveillance on the property around 9 a.m.

Mack had multiple warrants out for his arrest on previous firearms charges, as well as a charge for being an accessory after the fact dating back to a July 21st shooting incident in Fitchburg.

Troopers in the Fugitive Unit said that they made verbal contact with Mack, who refused to leave the residence.

Around 12 p.m., the State Police’s Special Tactical Operations and Crisis Negotiation Units were called to the scene. Intelligence indicated that Mack was armed and had a propensity for violence.

Police said that they made contact with Mack via telephone. Officers, as well as members of Mack’s family, made attempts to deescalate the situation and get him to surrender peacefully.

Shortly before 3 p.m., police said that they saw Mack exit the rear of the home. STOP Team Sergeant Stucenski and K9 Frankie were approaching Mack in an attempt to apprehend him when Mack fired multiple shots in their direction, striking K9 Frankie before he retreated back into the house.

K9 Frankie and Sergeant Stucenski
K9 Frankie and Sergeant Stucenski(Massachusetts State Police)

Troopers said that K9 Frankie was evacuated from the scene and taken by ambulance to Wachusett Animal Hospital in Westminster where he was later pronounced dead.

K9 Frankie will be brought with full honors to a pet crematorium in Cranston, Rhode Island. He was 10 years old, a month shy of his 11th birthday.

Back at the scene in Fitchburg, police said that they could not re-establish contact with Mack. Just before 5:30 p.m., the decision was made to deploy an unmanned drone to surveil the outside of the residence. Troopers were able to obtain visual confirmation that the suspect was deceased inside the home, likely from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Police said that no officers fired their weapons throughout the duration of the incident.

K9 Frankie will be remembered for his hard work and bravery. He, along with Sergeant Stucenski, received multiple honors, including the State Police Medal of Merit and the Medal of Valor at the state’s annual George L. Hanna Awards for Bravery.

They won an additional three awards from the United States Police Canine Association for evidence recovery, agility, and other law enforcement skills. Most recently, they, along with other members of the Special Tactical Operations Team, were honored for capturing an armed child pornography suspect in West Springfield.

Police said that Frankie’s emergency care is the first of its instance since Governor Charlie Baker signed Nero’s Law in 2021. He was also the first Massachusetts State Police K9 to be killed in the line of duty.

K9 Frankie will be remembered by his Massachusetts State Police, as well as the Stucenski family, who will ensure that his sacrifice will never be forgotten.