Deputies: Suspect attempted to strangle K-9

- A K-9 with the Volusia County Sheriff's Office, awarded a Purple Heart earlier this year after being injured in the line of duty, escaped the clutches of a suspect he had apprehended on Thursday, authorities say.

Initially, Burl Gehris was wanted for misdemeanor criminal mischief charges. He now faces charges of battery on a police dog and resisting an officer without violence.

A deputy tracked down Gehris after responding to a call on Bermude Estates Drive.  Gehris had been hiding in a wooded area, when according to the deputy, K-9 Endo was deployed.  The dog immediately began tracking Gehris and apprehended him on the leg.  That's when a deputy said Gehris attempted to strangle Endo with both hands.

The deputy began ordering Gehris to get his hands off of Endo.  As he ran over to assist the dog, he tripped and fell on top of Gehris.  The deputy said Gehris did not comply with his commands, so he punched him twice on the right side of his head while ordering him to stop fighting the dog.  After several seconds, the deputy said Gehris complied.

Gehris was taken to Florida Hospital Ormond Memorial Medical Center by Ormond Beach Police, where he was treated for several puncture wounds on his right thigh and a laceration on his left hand.  During questioning, Gehris told authorities he did not mean to hurt Endo but was only acting in self-defense.  He remained in the custody of the Ormond Beach Police Department at the hospital. 

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