MS-13 gang inmates stab and kill K-9 in Sussex I

MS-13 gang members stabbed and killed K-9 Rivan while the dog was responding to an attack at Sussex I State Prison, VADOC announced.

On Tuesday, April 2, three “verified members of MS-13” housed at Sussex I “viciously attacked another inmate,” while a fourth inmate appeared to be supervising the attack, VADOC stated.

Officer Kharmishia Phillip Fields, a trained K-9 handler, and Rivan were working the area and responded to the incident to stop the attack. They were ultimately able to restore order, but Rivan was “violently and repeatedly stabbed and kicked by the inmates” involved in the attack, VADOC reported.

K-9 Rivan, a Belgian Malinois who has been on the team since 2019, died at the facility while VADOC staff were attempting life-saving measures, the state corrections authority reported.

The inmate who was being attacked was transported to the hospital for treatment and has since been returned to the prison.

Officer Phillip Fields didn’t sustain any serious injuries, said VADOC .

“K-9s play a vital role at our facilities. They protect our correctional staff. They protect our inmates and also deter aggressive inmate behavior. The Virginia Department of Corrections never wants to lose one of its K-9s in the line of duty, but their important role in ensuring long-term public safety for the Commonwealth is undeniable,” said VADOC Director Chad Dotson.

According to VADOC, the four inmates involved in the attack are from El Salvador and Guatemala. They were in the U.S. illegally when they were incarcerated.

These individuals were convicted of several charges including 1st degree homicide, attempted rape, kidnapping/abduction, malicious wounding, use of a firearm in commission of a felony, child pornography charges, grand larceny, and possession of a Schedule III drug, according to VADOC.

VADOC announced intentions to pursue charges against those inmates for the April 2 incident.

“The safety of our corrections team is our agency’s top priority,” said VADOC Director Chad Dotson. “Officer Phillip Fields has the agency’s full support during this difficult time and I personally wish her well in her recovery. The heroics she displayed during this brutal assault demonstrate her courage, her commitment to public safety, and her care for the safety of the inmate population. I thank her for her service to the Commonwealth.”

“The loss of Rivan is truly tragic, but it is important to remember he did not die in vain,” Dotson added. “He lost his life while potentially saving the lives of two people, his assigned Officer and an inmate. The VADOC will never forget Rivan’s sacrifice.”

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