Hunt is on for man accused of punching K-9 officer while running from police

The Lone Star Fugitive Task Force is joining in the hunt for a man who police say hurt a K-9 officer while running from authorities earlier this month.

According to an affidavit, Austin Police received information that a wanted man, identified as 24-year-old Woody Horsnby IV, was seen getting into a vehicle on E. 8th St. and Neches on February 7.

Officers pulled over the vehicle at a gas station in the 2100 block of Manor Road, where the APD Met Tac take down team responded.

Police say Hornsby got out of the car and ran east on Manor Road. After he ignored numerous orders to stop, an APD K-9 named Murph was released to apprehend him.

"The suspect had been known to run often from police officers, he posed an imminent threat to the public", said Senior Police Officer Patrick O'Connor. "He definitely needed to be caught and put in jail."

According to an arrest warrant, Murph "bit Hornsby in the pelvic area pinning him against a vehicle."

"The dog was able to cross Manor Road and effectuate a bite on Hornsby IV," said Hector Gomez, supervisory U.S. Marshal.

Hornsby struck Murph in the head with his fist, police say, causing Murph to release the bite.

"I was able to see the suspect swing at the dog," said O'Connor, who is Murph's handler. "I could only see the swing, I couldn't see what was in his hand."

Hornsby ran off, and another officer deployed his Taser, but the prongs came out. That's when police lost sight of Hornsby.

"He's in the Austin area. He doesn't have the finances or economic means to flee or get away from the area," said Gomez. "He's somewhat boxed in. The only environment that he knows is the Austin area."

According to police, Murph's partner observed bloody hair around the dog's left upper eye, where he was struck.

"At that point I just wanted to make sure he was okay," O'Connor said.

Murph was treated for a puncture wound at Circle C Animal Hospital. He was later released.

In addition to other charges, Hornsby is charged with interference with police service animal, a state jail felony.

"The suspect getting caught was important to me but I wanted to make sure the dog was okay first," O'Connor said.