'Career criminal' punches police dog in east Austin, evades arrest

AUSTIN (KXAN) -- A man punched and injured a police K9 in east Austin Monday, causing bleeding above the dog's left eye, according to a warrant issued for his arrest by the Austin Police Department.

Police K9 Murph was taken to an animal hospital where he was treated and released.

The incident began when police spotted a man, Woody Hornsby IV, 24, who they said had several outstanding warrants, getting into a car at the intersection of East 8th Street and Neches Street in downtown Austin. An officer followed the car to a gas station in the 2100 block of Manor Road, summoning backup police support along the way.

Upon arrival at the gas station, a police van pulled up and a takedown team of officers wearing police raid vests jumped out and approached Hornsby's car, yelling "Police" several times, continued in the arrest warrant. Murph and his K9 officer were standing by when Hornsby jumped out of his car and ran east on Manor Road and refused police commands to stop. Police released Murph to apprehend him.

Murph caught Hornsby, bit him in his pelvic area and pinned him against a car in a parking lot, police said. Hornsby spun around and punched the dog in the head with his fist. Police believe the suspect may have been holding a sharp object in his hand, which caused the dog to bleed.

Hornsby was then able to get away from the dog and made his way towards a fence and starting climbing it. An officer fired and struck him with a Taser, causing him to fall to the ground on the other side of the fence.

But the stun gun didn't stop the suspect. Police say he got up, continued running and escaped when officers lost sight of him, despite an hour-long search that included a helicopter and more K9 units.

Austin police had previously classified Hornsby as a "career criminal." His criminal history includes domestic assaults, aggravated assaults, aggravated robbery, burglary, evading on foot and vehicle and narcotics violations.

Once arrested, Hornsby will be charged with interference with a police service animal, a felony.

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