Officer recounts moment suspect pulled gun - and K-9 took a bite out of crime

"Officers on scene speculate the outcome may have been deadly had K-9 Falco not intervened at the moment he did," Springfield Police said in a report. (Courtesy Springfield Police)

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Officer Conner O'Leary was on the lookout Sunday for a black Cadillac Escalade stolen out of Eugene.

"We were all kind of patrolling out looking for it," O'Leary said.

Then he found it.

"I activated my overhead lights and sirens," O'Leary said, "and the vehicle did not stop."

The car led O'Leary on a high-speed chase over surface streets and highways to a dead-end road east of Coburg.

The suspect had nowhere to go - except directly into O'Leary's patrol car.

"I saw it accelerate at a high rate of speed," O'Leary said.

Officers called out to the man behind the wheel.

"He wouldn't tell us anything," O'Leary said. "He was digging around in his pockets with his back turned to us."

The suspect apparently found what he was looking for.

"He turned toward us," O'Leary said. "He pointed the firearm at us."

That's when police K-9 Falko grabbed the suspect by the arm and pulled him to the ground.

The man kept fighting, trying to reach his gun, police said.

"He wasn't going to stop on his own," O'Leary said. "It was pretty clear."

It's the kind of situation where officers have the legal right to shoot.

"Which is something we never want to do," O'Leary said. "That'd be the most unfortunate thing you could possibly do as a police officer and we're just fortunate that K-9 Falko was there to take that card off the table and make it so that we didn't have to do that."

Police said the suspect was eventually taken into custody - and transported to the hospital for damage done to his arm by the dog.

"Absolutely, Falko 100 percent saved my life," O'Leary said.

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