SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office has filed felony and misdemeanor charges against a man accused of shooting and killing K9 officer “Dingo”, who was part of an effort to apprehend the wanted man.
Dingo was killed July 6 as members of the U.S. Marshal’s Violent Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team were conducting an operation to capture 28-year-old Torey Chase Massey, an alleged parole fugitive.
Massey fled from officers in his vehicle and then on foot, and Dingo and his handler, Lt. Chad Reyes, were among those who pursued. Massey abandoned his vehicle after it was disabled by officers who spiked the tires.
Charging documents state Reyes, a U.S. Marshal and Dingo pursued Massey into a parking lot near 1200 East and 3300 South. Dingo was deployed, making contact with Massey near steep, weed-covered drop-off.
“Sgt. Reyes observed Massey look back at Dingo and then at Sgt. Reyes with a taunting smirk on his face,” charging documents state. “Dingo leapt up and attached to Massey’s left side which caused them both to tumble off the drop and into the weeds. As Sgt. Reyes ran towards Dingo and the defendant he heard three gunshots, Dingo yelping, a pause, and then two more gunshots.”
The charging documents state Dingo collapsed at Reyes’ feet and became unresponsive. Emergency aid was rendered, but the dog ultimately passed away.
“I am confident this individual would have used his firearm against one of our human members,” Sheriff Jim Winder said earlier this month. “Dingo, from my standpoint, certainly saved a life, if not multiple lives.”
Other officers pursued Massey, who fled through a gas station parking lot before eventually surrendering without further violence.
Arresting officers found baggies of methamphetamine and heroin on Massey’s person, and a search of his vehicle turned up identification documents belonging to the victim of a recent vehicle burglary in Wasatch County, the documents allege.
Dingo was laid to rest in a memorial service July 15. His handler, Chad Reyes, was promoted from sergeant to lieutenant as part of those proceedings, and he spoke about the loss of his beloved partner.
“There’s no question in my mind that Dingo saved my life on two occasions, and the least I owe him is to help honor his memory and his ultimate sacrifice,” Reyes said during the service.
Massey has been charged with two counts of possession or use of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, which are enhanced to first-degree felonies due Utah laws on “habitual offenders.” He could serve up to life in prison if convicted on either count. He is also charged with injuring a police service animal, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Massey is further charged with failure to respond to an officer’s signal to stop and possession or transfer of a financial transaction card, both of which are third-degree felonies.
He also faces several misdemeanor charges: unlawful possession of another’s identification documents, failure to stop at command of a law officer, and two counts of possession or use of a controlled substance.
“The D.A’s Office expresses its appreciation to the law enforcement professionals who apprehended Massey, and condolences to Lt. Reyes on the loss of his partner Dingo, and to the Unified Police Department and law enforcement professionals on their loss of the police service dog,” the press release from the D.A.’s Office concludes.