Suspect gets bitten after punching Polk County K9 officer, deputies say

Polk County deputies say a suspect punched a K9 officer Friday – and suffered puncture wounds to both arms.

The ordeal began Thursday when 36-year-old Carmelo Fernandez fled on his motorcycle during a traffic stop, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies say Fernandez had five active warrants at the time, including fleeing to elude, grand theft and meth possession.

Deputies, including K9 Winton and Master Deputy Mike Ard, found the suspect Friday in Winter Haven. Fernandez was hiding in a backyard shed on Spirit Lake Drive, according to the sheriff’s office.

“Deputy Ard gave him several commands to surrender or he would release Winton … Carmelo refused. Ard released Winston,” a sheriff’s office spokesperson said. “Carmelo then thought it would be a good idea to punch Winton several times during the apprehension. Seriously? Winton was undeterred, and Carmelo received puncture wounds to both of his arms, courtesy of Winton. Ouch.”

Fernandez was treated for the bite wounds and then taken to jail. He faces 17 total charges between old incidents and last week’s events, deputies said. He is charged with aggravated battery on a law enforcement K9.

Winton is going to be fine, deputies said. “Winton is an awesome dog, and a very, very good boy,” the spokesperson said.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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