A Massachusetts State Police K9 team yesterday morning located and captured a man who stabbed a co-worker at the produce center in Wakefield where they worked. Trooper Daniel Purtell and his partner Neko tracked the suspect through thick brush, reeds, and water in a swamp where he was attempting to hide and apprehended him at approximately 9:30 a.m.
The sequence of events leading to the capture began at approximately 8:35 a.m. Tuesday, when State Police were notified that Wakefield Police had responded to a stabbing at Produce Connection on Audubon Road. The suspect had fled into a wooded and swampy area adjacent to Audubon Road.
Among the MSP units that responded to assist in the search were Trooper Purtell and Neko, who deployed on a track. Neko led his handler into thick woods and a swamp, and they crossed through chest deep water and heavy brush that made visual observation difficult. Within a short time, Neko began pulling aggressively and displayed a proximity alert; Trooper Purtell issued two verbal commands telling the suspect to surrender but got no response.
At that point Neko, who was out ahead of the Trooper, stopped pulling, and Trooper Purtell crashed through the brush and reeds, while still in waist-deep water, to reach Neko’s location. When he reached the dog he observed Neko had bitten onto the suspect’s pants as the man was trying to hide. Trooper Purtell ordered the suspect to show his hands and immediately removed Neko from the suspect’s clothing and, along with backup Trooper Scott Hayes, placed the suspect in custody and escorted him from the swamp.
The suspect, identified as ELVIN GUTIERREZ, 34, of Chelsea, was examined by an EMS unit, which determined no treatment was necessary.
The victim, a 25-year-old male, suffered non-fatal injuries stab and slash wounds and was transported to Lahey Clinic from the stabbing scene.
Wakefield Police, who have jurisdiction over the investigation, charged GUTIERREZ with assault with intent to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and outstanding warrants and he is being prosecuted by the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office.
A file photo of Neko and Trooper Purtell is shown. Please credit photo to Massachusetts State Police.