Pinellas County Sheriff’s K9 Corporal Matthew Aitken is recovering after being shot in the neck, hand and leg Sunday night.

The sheriff’s office says Aitken was called to the 6300 block of 60th Avenue North for a report of a man breaking into cars.

Aitken began tracking a suspect with his K9 “Taco” and Sergeant Jacob Viano.

“We could see the suspect fire at least three rounds, hitting the corporal in the neck, one in the hand and one in the leg,” said St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway.

His department is now investigating because the shooting involved Pinellas County deputies.

The suspect has been identified as Zion Bostic, 23.

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says Sergeant Viano was able to return fire after Aitken was hit.

“It was on the cusp of being different, we’d be talking about a dead deputy if things had changed just slightly. If Viano hadn’t run with him, he wouldn’t be here today,” said Gualtieri.

Holloway says Bostic fired six rounds from a 9mm handgun. Bostic was hit by Viano’s return fire and died at the scene.

Deputies also found the Bostic had a 380 pistol that had been stolen from an unlocked car in 2018.

Chief Holloway says Bostic has a long criminal history and was due back in court last week, but didn’t show up.

“The judge issued three warrants for his arrest. He was looking at a possible five years in prison. He told his mom that he would not go back to prison,” said Holloway.

Sheriff Gualtieri says Bostic began a criminal path very early in life.

“He was 22 years old, he’s been arrested 18 times, on 34 different felony charges, 22 different misdemeanor charges,” said Gualtieri, ” He first went to the Florida department of corrections, to the state prison system at 17 years old because he was charged by the state attorney as an adult.”

Gualtieri says Bostic was released from prison exactly one year before Sunday’s shooting and had gone back to a life of crime, committing grand thefts, drug crimes and firearms offenses.

The sheriff says Bostic would have been facing five more years in prison if he’d shown up for court. Corporal Aitken was taken to surgery Monday, according to the sheriff, and is doing well.