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Fla. deputy, K-9 stabbed during arrest

Fla. deputy, K-9 stabbed during arrest

Deputy Scott Cronin was wounded while wrestling a knife from a man who barricaded himself inside a home

Suzie Schottelkotte
The Ledger

BARTOW, Fla. — A Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputy and his K-9 are recovering from stab wounds they received Saturday night while arresting a 31-year-old Lakeland man during a home-invasion burglary.

Deputy Scott Cronin was cut in his hand while wrestling a knife from Carl McHargh Jr., who was barricaded in a bedroom closet after forcing his way into a home on Grand Pines Boulevard in Lakeland. His K-9, Vise, was stabbed nine times around his head and face, and underwent emergency surgery Saturday night to treat his wounds. He’s expected to make a full recovery, according to PCSO spokeswoman Carrie Horstman.

After he was taken into custody, McHargh experienced a seizure and was revived at the scene by emergency medical teams, Horstman said. He’s been hospitalized in intensive care and is listed in critical condition, she said.

According to the sheriff’s office, the homeowners heard someone banging on their door at about 8:30 p.m. Saturday, and screaming “Let me in” and “They are after me.” Not seeing anyone outside, the homeowners refused to let him in, prompting the assailant to smash the glass in the door with the tire lug wrench he’d brought with him.

As he forced his way inside, the homeowners went outside and called 911. When deputies arrived, they found McHargh barricaded in the closet. They pried the door open and sent Vise inside, reports state.

“Deputy Cronin observed McHargh punching K-9 Vise about his head and neck,” the press release states. “Cronin grabbed the suspect’s hand, and realized he was actually stabbing the dog with a kitchen knife that McHargh grabbed from the victims’ kitchen.”

A violent struggle ensued as Cronin wrenched the knife from the assailant, which is when Cronin was injured, reports state.

The sheriff’s office gives this account of events as McHargh was taken into custody:

“After McHargh was taken into custody, he suffered a significant medical event suspected to be excited delirium from his cocaine-induced state, and he was treated at the scene by EMS, including the administration of Narcan and CPR. They revived him and transported him to a local hospital, where he tested positive for cocaine, and was intubated.”

PCSO is filing charges of armed burglary of an occupied dwelling, petty theft, offense against a police dog with great bodily harm, three counts of resisting arrest with violence and three counts of battery on a law enforcement officer.

McHargh’s criminal history includes 15 felonies and 11 misdemeanors in Polk and Hillsborough counties, including drug possession, robbery, burglary, domestic violence, grand theft of a motor vehicle and resisting arrest. In 2010, he served nine months in Florida state prison for an attempted armed robbery conviction in Hillsborough County.

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