Three bad guys’ worst nightmare

Here’s a pre-Halloween story about three bad guys with an evil plan. Back in May, 2015, they decided–possibly as part of a gang plot–to ambush and kill a cop.

Cop's-eye view, approaching a similar Lincoln Town Car.
Cop’s-eye view, approaching a similar Lincoln Town Car.

They set up their ambush at a deserted rest area on a lonely stretch of Highway 90, near Pearlington, Mississippi. They parked their 2000 model dark blue Lincoln Town Car, and turned off the lights. One man sat very still inside. The other two hid in the woods nearby. Then they waited.

Around 10:00 p.m., Hancock County Deputy Todd Frazier noticed the car with the motionless man in the driver’s seat. Like any good cop, he pulled over and got out, to see if the man was all right.

That’s when the other two leaped out of the dark woods. They attacked Frazier with fists and what probably was a box cutter. When the man who’d been in the car piled out, it was three against one. They choked Frazier, told him they were going to slit his throat, and dragged him toward the woods.

Chief Deputy Don Bass later said authorities think they planned to take Frazier into the woods, kill him, and dump his body.

Lucky for Frazier, he had a couple of secret weapons.

lucas-leaps-full
Meet Lucas, the hero of this story.

The first was a button on his belt. Frazier managed to get a hand free long enough to press it. That released the door of his patrol vehicle and popped it open. The device had only recently been installed: one of the first two on any Hancock County units. 

The second secret weapon was his K9 partner, 75-lb. black Belgian Malinois Lucas. Six-year-old Lucas recognized right away that this was not a training exercise, Frazier later said. The dog leaped from the vehicle and immediately attacked the three men.

Lucas bit one, possibly two of the attackers, according to Hancock County Sheriff Ricky Adam. “We don’t know how many he got, we just know he had blood all over him.”

By that time Frazier had blood all over himself, too. “I couldn’t see anything, because the blood was all in my eyes,” he said later. “I could hear [Lucas] growling and making all these sounds . . . he sounded like a wolf.”

The attackers fled in the Town Car. Sheriff Adam said that as they drove away, Lucas was still hanging onto the leg of one of them

A multi-agency manhunt ensued after the attack on Deputy Frazier.
A multi-agency manhunt ensued after the attack on Deputy Frazier.

The bad guys didn’t get away unscathed–at least one of them probably had serious dog bites. But neither did Frazier or Lucas. Frazier’s injuries, while not life-threatening, put him in the hospital for a while. Lucas broke several teeth and tore a neck muscle and an ACL. 

Lucas in 2015, with his medal from BARL.
Lucas in 2015, with his medal from BARL.

Despite a multi-agency manhunt that expanded into Louisiana, the attackers have not yet been found. But that doesn’t mean the police aren’t still looking. DNA swabs and other evidence were taken from the scene, so even if it takes years, they should still have the means to link suspects to this case. If you know anything that would help, please contact the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department at (228) 467-5101 or call your local law enforcement.

It took a while for Frazier and Lucas to get back on their feet. Unlike at many agencies, where the department owns the K9s, Lucas is Frazier’s own dog. Since their close brush with death in 2015, Frazier has started TLB K9 Enterprises, his own business training K9s, and they also do federal search and rescue work for FEMA.

Lucas has been recognized for his bravery with a PETA Heroic Dog Award, and by the Brookhaven Animal Rescue League (BARL) as the Hero of the Year for 2015.

I found an animated re-enactment of Lucas and Frazier’s story from TOMO News, that you may enjoy:

IMAGES: Many thanks to WeBeAutos on YouTube, for the screenshot of a 2000 model dark blue Lincoln Town Car, as the videographer approaches the drivers’ side front window. This would be similar to Todd Frazier’s viewpoint as he walked into the ambush–only it was a lot darker that night. I am indebted to the Australian website news.com for the dramatic photo of Lucas in mid-leap. Many thanks to the Clarion Ledger for the photo of the investigation at the crime scene, and for the photo of Lucas with his BARL award. Finally, many thanks to TOMO News on YouTube, for the animated re-enactment of Lucas’s heroic night.

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jansgephardt

Kansas City-based Jan S. Gephardt is a writer, artist, and teacher. She makes nationally-recognized paper sculpture and writes sf mystery novels about a sapient police dog.

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