K-9 killed protecting officer and inmate who was attacked by prisoners, Virginia officials say

Apr 4, 2024, 8:47 AM

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A K-9 was killed “heroically” protecting a correctional officer, who was responding to a violent attack involving apparent gang members, Virginia prison officials said.

Rivan, a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois, died despite life-saving measures after being “violently and repeatedly stabbed and kicked” by the inmates involved in the assault, the Virginia Department of Corrections said in a news release Wednesday.

Three inmates affiliated with the MS-13 gang attacked another inmate Tuesday inside a housing unit at the Sussex I State Prison, with another inmate appearing to supervise the assault, the department said. Corrections Officer Kharmishia Phillip Fields and Rivan, her assigned K-9, were working in the area and responded to stop the attack and protect the inmates, the department said in a news release.

Rivan sustained injuries but Phillip Fields, a four-year veteran of the department, did not, “due to her training and Rivan’s courageous actions,” the news release said. Corrections officers ended the assault, and the inmate who was attacked was treated for injuries at a hospital and returned to the prison, according to the department.

“The loss of Rivan is truly tragic, but it is important to remember he did not die in vain,” Virginia Department of Corrections Director Chad Dotson said in a statement. “He lost his life while potentially saving the lives of two people, his assigned Officer and an inmate. The VADOC will never forget Rivan’s sacrifice.”

The department’s statement did not identify the inmates who were involved by name but said at least three were verified members of MS-13. All four were in the U.S. illegally when they were arrested and convicted, the department said.

They had been incarcerated on charges ranging from first-degree homicide to attempted rape and counts related to child sexual abuse images.

The department said it intended to seek prosecution of the inmates to the fullest extent of the law and that no further details would be provided amid an investigation.

Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin said on social media that the “barbaric members of MS-13 will be held accountable.”

Rivan would have turned 6 on April 30 and had been with the department since 2019. A memorial service is being planned.

National News

FILE - Buildings and homes are flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura near Lake Charles, La., ...

Associated Press

Data shows hurricanes and earthquakes grab headlines but inland counties top disaster list

Floyd County keeps flooding and the federal government keeps coming to the rescue. In July 2022, at least 40 people died and 300 homes were damaged when the eastern Kentucky county flooded. It was the 13th time in 12 years that the rural county was declared a federal disaster. These are disasters so costly that […]

3 hours ago

Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, left, talks with Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell...

Associated Press

Senate to consider bills that aim to protect children and teenagers online

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate will consider legislation this week that aims to protect children from dangerous online content, moving forward with what could become the first sweeping new regulation of the tech industry in decades. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is set to announce Tuesday that he will bring the bipartisan bill up in the […]

4 hours ago

Death row inmate Taberon Honie leaves the Utah Board of Pardons commutation hearing Monday, July 22...

Associated Press

Attorneys for state of Utah ask parole board to keep death sentence for man convicted in 1998 murder

Attorneys for the state of Utah are expected on Tuesday to urge a parole board to deny a death row inmate’s request for his life to be spared ahead of his scheduled Aug. 8 execution. Representatives of the 49-year-old victim, Claudia Benn, were scheduled to testify before both sides deliver their closing arguments during the […]

4 hours ago

FILE - Entertainer and activist Jon Stewart speaks at the Capitol in Washington, May 26, 2021. Stew...

Associated Press

Jon Stewart pushes VA to help veterans sickened after post-9/11 exposure to uranium

WASHINGTON (AP) — Comedian Jon Stewart is pressing the Biden administration to fix a loophole in a massive veterans aid bill that left out some of the first U.S. troops who responded after the Sept. 11 attacks and got sick after deploying to a base contaminated with dangerous levels of uranium. Special operations forces deployed […]

4 hours ago

FILE - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs a cabinet meeting at the Kirya military bas...

Associated Press

Netanyahu is in Washington at a fraught time for Israel and the US. What to know about his visit

WASHINGTON (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington this week is looming as a fraught one between the two allies, coming at a moment of extreme political flux in the United States, and wariness among American leaders about Netanyahu’s history of interjecting himself into U.S. domestic politics. The main purpose of Netanyahu’s […]

4 hours ago

FILE - President Joe Biden sits in the Oval Office of the White House, Feb. 9, 2024, in Washington....

Associated Press

Biden aims for more achievements despite the bane of lame-duck presidents: diminished relevance

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. (AP) — President Joe Biden says he’s “determined to get as much done” as he possibly can in his final six months in the White House as he tries to beat back a defining force that his lame-duck predecessors struggled to vanquish: diminished relevance. Biden hopes to keep the spigot flowing with […]

4 hours ago

K-9 killed protecting officer and inmate who was attacked by prisoners, Virginia officials say