Man who stabbed K-9 in head dies in hospital from cocaine intoxication, Polk deputies say

Polk County

Polk County Sheriff’s Office

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A man facing multiple charges after reportedly stabbing a Polk County Sheriff’s Office K-9 in the head following a failed burglary attempt died in the hospital from cocaine intoxication, an autopsy determined.

According to deputies, Carl McHargh Jr, 31, broke into a home in Lakeland on March 28 around 8:30 p.m by smashing the glass on the front door of a home on Grand Pines Boulevard using a tire lug wrench.

Once deputies arrived on scene Deputy Sheriff Scott Cronin and his K-9 partner Vise learned Mchargh Jr. was hiding inside the master bedroom closet refusing to come out. As deputies attempted to get McHargh Jr. to surrender K-9 Vise was sent into the closet to detain him.

Once K-9 Vise was inside the closet, McHargh Jr. began to stab the K-9 with a kitchen knife he had grabbed from the victims’ kitchen. Deputy Cronin was able to rip the knife out of McHargh Jr’s hand but was cut in the struggle.

After McHargh Jr. was taken into custody he suffered what deputies called a significant medical event suspected to be an excitied delirium from a cocaine-induced state. McHargh Jr. was transported to a local hospital, where he tested positive for cocaine and was intubated. He remains in the ICU in critical condition.

K-9 Vise was taken to Parkway Veterinary Emergency Clinic where he underwent surgery for nine stab wounds and an arterial bleed. While Deputy Cronin suffered a laceration while wrestling the knife out of the suspect’s hand. Both are expected to make a full recovery.

“These deputies and the canine risked their lives to get an armed and dangerous, drug-induced suspect out of the victims’ house. We are grateful that Vise will make a full recovery and that Deputy Cronin and the other two deputies weren’t more seriously injured in this violent attack. This felon was clearly in some sort of drug-induced rage, and preliminarily it appears he was suffering from excited delirium.”

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd

McHargh Jr. died in the hospital Monday evening.

If McHargh Jr. had survived, he would have been charged with armed occupied burglary, offense against a police dog with great bodily harm, three counts resisting arrest with violence, three counts battery on a law enforcement officer, and petit theft.

The sheriff’s office says McHargh Jr. has an extensive criminal history including 15 felonies, 11 misdemeanors, and 36 previous arrests in Polk and Hillsborough counties.


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