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Police dog "Zeke" released from hospital following shooting - abc27 WHTM

Dauphin County

Police dog "Zeke" released from hospital following shooting

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Puppy power! Zeke, the Harrisburg K-9 went home today. The canine cop was released from the animal ER after he was shot in the neck while on duty Friday evening.

His ears perked up. His tail began to wag. When Zeke saw his 'daddy' and handler Ty Meik come around the corner, it was hard to tell who was more excited.

Harrisburg Officer Corporal Ty Meik came to pick up his pup after a trying weekend. On Saturday, Dr. Mark Meyerhoff performed a nearly-three-hour surgery to remove a bullet from Zeke's neck.

"Yeah, there's a little pressure," said Meyerhoff. The veterinarian, who specializes in animal trauma, worked with anxious police officers in the audience. "There were a few visitors while this was going on."

Dr. Meyerhoff and the rest of the Rossmoyne Animal Trauma Center practically resurrected Zeke. Vets explained Zeke lost nearly 15% of his blood, which is typically fatal in such a short period of time.

Meyerhoff and his wife Sabrena worked tirelessly to stabilize Zeke and make sure he did not fall into shock. Many credit the quick EMS response and the Life Lion lift to the Mechanicsburg animal ER with ultimately saving Zeke's life.

"Whether that be a human or K-9 [the Life Lion airlift] was immensely valuable," said Dr. Meyerhoff. "It made all the difference in Zeke's recovery."

The airlift came after a chaotic evening Friday. Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico is investigating the police-involved shooting in Lower Paxton Township.

Marsico said Harrisburg K-9 Unit officer Ty Meik and Zeke assisted Lower Paxton Township police on serving a search warrant to the home of 20 year-old Skyler Stewart.

Marsico said police came to his Nyes Road home to search for a knife, a weapon believed to be involved in a fight last Wednesday. Investigators said Stewart allegedly stabbed his mother's boyfriend and was wanted on assault charges.

When police arrived to Stewart's home, Marsico said the man ran on foot. Zeke was used to track him down. According to Marsico's investigation as it stands now, Stewart shot Zeke when the K-9 caught up to him. The DA said a Lower Paxton Township Police officer returned fire and shot Stewart.

"We had an individual armed with a gun who just fired that gun...coming out wielding that gun toward a police officer," said Marsico. "So it appears very preliminarily that the officer's actions were justified."

Marsico added that the officer involved is on desk duty pending investigation.

Because doctors with the Penn State Hershey Medical Group Nyes Road were next door, Marsico said Stewart received immediate medical attention.

During a press conference Monday morning, Dauphin County Coroner Graham Hetrick said he recovered three bullets from Stewart—he died as a result of those gunshot wounds.

Shortly after the shooting, Corporal Meik scooped up Zeke and rushed him to his police vehicle, according to an investigator. That investigator tells abc27 News that Meik was en route to the Rossmoyne Animal Trauma Center when Life Lion decided to airlift Zeke instead.

Because the shooting happened close to a PSU Hershey Medical Center affiliate, Life Lion was already responding to the initial call. Meik and Zeke met Life Lion three miles away at the Dauphin County Technical School on Locust Lane.

With 20 stitches, two full days of rest and his stuffed raccoon "Ducky," Zeke is now on the road to recovery. Dr. Meyerhoff expects Zeke to full recovery in about four to six weeks. Zeke could even start training in 30 days. The clinic is covering the costs of Zeke's surgery in full.

Harrisburg Police Captain Annette Oates, who is also a self-described animal lover, was present to wish luck to her officer—the four-legged one.

"He's one of us," she said. "He's our hero. And we're just so happy he's made a full recovery. He's a fighter, a real crime fighter."

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