FORT EDWARD, N.Y. – A Washington County K-9 helped take down a Massachusetts fugitive on Tuesday.
Gregory Lewis, 26, was wanted in Massachusetts in connection to a number of charges including rape of a child, robbery and gun charges. He was taken into police custody after crashing his vehicle in to a river in Fort Edward Tuesday evening.
Police said Lewis might have slipped through their fingers had it not been for two things: quick thinking by officers who set up a tight perimeter and the sensitive nose of a K-9 officer.
K-9 Nass and his handler, Washington County Deputy Scott Stark, responded to the call Tuesday night. The call initially came in as a vehicle in the river. Lewis’ jeep was partially submerged. But then a second call came in that the driver had pulled a gun on residents trying to assist him.
Stark said his fellow officers set up a fast and tight perimeter leaving Lewis only a few places to run. That perimeter allowed Nass to quickly track down Lewis.
“With a good perimeter, they will lay down and the dog can find them,” Stark said.
Stark said he and Nass were about five feet from the shore when they veered left and Nass started air breathing.
“Just as we came another 50 yards, Nass’ nose came up , and he started air scenting,” Stark said. “And then all of a sudden, he jumped in the bushes. I hit him with my light. The guy immediately steps back acting shocked that the dog came in there. And at which time he sees me and says, ‘I dropped the gun. The gun is on the ground. You got me!’”
Stark said he didn’t know the suspect was a fugitive wanted in eight states for a series of crimes.
“He said, ‘Do you know who I am?’” Stark recalled. “And we said no. And he said, ‘You will know soon enough.’”
Stark believes if Lewis had not been captured in New York, he was desperate enough to do just about anything to stay on the run.
“He would have grabbed a car, kidnapped anyone,” he said.
Stark credits the team work and Nass for the arrest.