No one was injured when a police dog searching for a handgun stolen from New Hampshire managed to fire the weapon with its paw Saturday morning in Lawrence.
Ivan, a 3-year-old German shepherd, and his handler, Lt. John Pickles of the Essex County Sherriff’s Department, were startled when a gun Ivan was searching for in a snowbank fired when he pawed at it to indicate its location.
Essex County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Maurice Pratt said the department was called in by the Lawrence Police Department for help locating a weapon after a man was seen burying something in the snow by police after a report of shots being fired.
After the gun was recovered, Detective Tom Cuddy of the Lawrence Police Department said police matched it to a gun that was stolen from Manchester on Oct. 2 of last year.
Pratt said Ivan, who is one of the department’s 18 K-9s, has been with the department about a year and is narcotics and search trained.
“Ivan is trained to sit when he finds something, then the handler will instruct him to paw for the item, and that is when the gun fired,” Pratt said.
While the round that was fired has not been located, Pratt said, “The most important thing is that the dog, officer and civilians are fine. We are fortunate no one was hurt.”