Internet Sensation K9 Arlo Retires After Recovering From I-5 Shooting


K9 Arlo, wounded by friendly fire after a high-speed chase in January, has officially retired from service after the Thurston County Sheriff's Office transferred ownership of the dog to his handler.

Deputy Tyler Turpin paid $1 for Arlo on Wednesday, Sheriff John Snaza told The Olympian. In typical fashion, the deputy shared a video of the transaction to the tune of Chuck Berry's Johnny B Goode with his 2.5 million TikTok followers.

Following the Jan. 13 chase, law enforcement shot Arlo two times while opening fire on 25-year-old Victor Hugo Ortiz Bucio, the Olympian previously reported. After the shooting, a GoFundMe organized by the Thurston County Deputy Sheriff's Foundation raised $73,705 for the dog, which had to undergo surgery.

Notably, the GoFundMe page did not indicate law enforcement shot the dog, instead opting to vaguely describe the incident as an officer-involved shooting. In a now deleted post, Turpin also claimed Arlo was shot by a suspect, according to an incident report.

Snaza said Arlo has largely recovered from the shooting. However, he said he chose to retire Arlo because he could not be sure the dog could continue as an active duty K9 without suffering more medical problems.

"It's just not worth it to the Sheriff's Office or to the K9 handler or to the community to have a dog in pain all the time, but that dog does want to go to work," Snaza said.

The Thurston County Commissioners unanimously approved the sale on Tuesday.

The funds raised for Arlo have not been spent yet, Snaza said, but he understands a significant amount will be used to pay for Arlo's medical bills. The foundation, which is operated separately from the Sheriff's Office, will decide what to do with any remaining funds, Snaza said.

The suspect deputies were chasing in the incident, Ortiz Bucio, is being held in Thurston County jail in lieu of $250,000 bail.

He has since been charged with four counts of second-degree assault, one count of attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle, three counts of third-degree rape of a child, and one count of second-degree child molestation. A trial confirmation hearing for Ortiz Bucio's case is scheduled for May 6 with a possible jury trial set for May 17.

Though Ortiz Bucio pointed a gun at officers, a probable cause statement alleges he hoped law enforcement would kill him after the Lacey Police Department initiated an investigation into his past sexual relationship with a then 14-year-old girl.

A description of video evidence in the report notes five Thurston County deputies and one Washington State Patrol trooper fired on Ortiz Bucio for about seven seconds.

Paramedics transported Ortiz Bucio to Providence St. Peter Hospital following the incident. According to the report, he was treated for three gunshot wounds to his abdomen, left wrist and left thigh.

Deputy Turpin told investigators he fired his weapon three times during the incident after seeing a flash from the barrel of Ortiz Bucio's gun, according to the report.

"Deputy Turpin advised he was in fear for his life, felt the suspect was trying to kill deputies and troopers," the report read.

Turpin sent Arlo to apprehend Ortiz Bucio moments before he had pointed the gun at law enforcement, according to the report.

However, the report found video evidence indicating Ortiz Bucio collapsed to the ground before Arlo reached him and he did not point the gun at the dog.

Investigators never found a shell casing from Ortiz Bucio's handgun at the scene and the gun did not contain any bullets, according to the report.

Snaza acknowledged the shooting, saying it was unfortunate it occurred the way it did.

"Once the individual came out, you know, the dog is released and all of a sudden the gun is displayed," Snaza said. "So, I mean it was like simultaneously. It was unfortunate it happened like that, but in those kinds of scenarios you are trying to protect lives."

He said the deputies involved felt remorseful after the shooting.

"When they came out of it, you could definitely see that they were emotionally drained just because they felt so bad for not only the victim but for the dog," Snaza said.

Snaza said his office has not received any negative response to the report from the public.

"I haven't heard anything like really negative stuff," Snaza said. "A lot of people on the comments that I have seen are just saying, 'We're really sorry to hear that. It's horrible. How did that happen?' ... It's really hard to say 'Well you know this happened, that happened, this is how it happened.'"

Snaza said his office is still receiving compliments and well wishes for Arlo, Deputy Turpin and the K9 program. He said FedEx or UPS also delivers packages sent to Arlo every day.

"I know that they've been donating a lot of those gifts to other K9 programs as well because Arlo can only get so much," Snaza said.

Turpin has resumed sharing videos of Arlo on his TikTok and Instagram accounts after the Mason County Sheriff's Office concluded their investigation.