PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — A Pinellas County deputy who was shot three times Sunday evening in Pinellas Park is still recovering in the hospital but is said to be doing OK.
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said in an update Wednesday morning that K-9 Corporal Matthew Aitken "has shown improvement over the last day, and no further surgeries are scheduled at this time."
Aitken and a sergeant with the sheriff's office chased a man, identified as 23-year-old Zion Bostick, who was accused by a witness of trying to break into several cars.
Bostick reportedly ran behind a local church and continued through a wooded area to a neighborhood. This was when Aitken and K-9 Taco began to track the man.
When authorities caught up to him, they saw him trying to hide around the corner of a house, according to the police department. After trying to talk to the 23-year-old, police say Bostick shot at law enforcement and hit Aitken.
The deputy was shot in the neck, hand and leg, according to the police chief.
"While he has a long road to recovery, we are optimistic about his prognosis," the sheriff's office said in a statement.
Sgt. Jacob Viano, who police say was also shot at three times by Bostick, was able to duck out of the way of bullets and fire back – ultimately killing the 23-year-old.
"It's because of...[Viano], who he is and what he did, that the outcome here wasn't different," Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said. "If Viano hadn't run with [Aitken], he wouldn't be here today because Viano was able to kill this guy before he fired additional rounds into [the deputy] when he was laying on the ground."
Viano was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation into the shooting.