ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (KFOR/Storyful) – Newly-released body cam video shows the moment a Florida deputy was shot three times while chasing after a burglary suspect. However, his K9 named “Taco” raced in and took down the suspect, saving his handler’s life.
Pinellas County Corporal Matt Aitken followed Taco’s lead to the suspect. Both hopped a fence to search for the vehicle burglary suspect, Zion Bostick, 23.
Bostick was released from prison exactly one year before the March 12th shooting, his second stint in prison, and had a lengthy record for drug offenses, gun charges, and grand theft auto.
When Corporal Aitken and Taco approached, Bostick fired multiple rounds, striking Aitken three times.
Video at the top of this story shows Aitken crying out and falling to the ground. A second vantage point shows body cam footage from Sergeant Jake Viano, who was helping Aitken in the pursuit.
After Aitken fell to the ground, Taco is seen biting down on the suspect, allowing Viano a chance to return fire on Bostick, before Bostick could further shoot Corporal Aitken.
Bostick was fatally wounded.
Aitken underwent surgery for his injuries and is still recovering. He says it’s a miracle that all three shots, striking his neck, leg, and wrist, all missed vital organs. Viano and Taco were not injured.
“If it wasn’t for the heroic actions of K-9 Taco and Sergeant Viano, Corporal Aitken may not have made it out of this tragic incident alive,” said Pinellas County Sergeant Amanda Sinni when the video was released on April 6th.
To view interviews with Corporal Aitken and Sergeant Viano regarding the incident, click here.