Thurston County Judge Sentences Man for Assault, Car Chase That Led to K9 Arlo Shooting


A 27-year-old Thurston County man who led police on a car chase in 2021 that resulted in him and a popular K9 being shot has been sentenced to more than two years in prison. 

On Tuesday, Thurston County Superior Court judge Mary Sue Wilson sentenced Victor Hugo Ortiz Bucio to a total of 29 months in prison with 18 months of community custody.

“My heart goes out to everybody who was impacted, and I am hopeful … you are appreciating the gravity and impact of all of your actions,” Wilson said. 

In March, he pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree assault, attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle, two counts of third-degree assault and fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation.

Five Thurston County deputies and one Washington State Patrol trooper reportedly fired on Ortiz Bucio on Jan. 13, 2021 after he led them on a chase on Interstate 5 and pointed an empty gun at them near Grand Mound, The Olympian previously reported. 

Moments before the shooting, former deputy Tyler (Turpin) McCoy, released K9 Arlo to apprehend Ortiz Bucio. Law enforcement accidentally shot the dog. The K9 later recovered and retired amid much internet fanfare. 

Ortiz Bucio was shot three times. His attorney, Richard Woodrow, said Ortiz Bucio led law enforcement on the chase and pointed the empty gun at them because he wanted to die.

“I believe we worked out a fashioned agreement that holds Mr. Ortiz accountable, but also takes into consideration the fact that Mr. Ortiz, before all this happened, was suffering from severe depression,” Woodrow said. 

Deputy prosecuting attorney Brandi Archer called the shooting a “dynamic incident.” Prior to the chase, the Lacey Police Department had been investigating Ortiz-Bucio for having a sexual relationship with a then 14-year-old girl in 2020.

“This was a very serious situation,” Archer said. “I believe Mr. Ortiz and the community are lucky that no one was further seriously injured in this incident. There was great risk to the entire community.”

Archer said the teenage victim has moved out of the area and refused to testify in the case. This led to the resolution agreed to by both parties, she added. 

Wilson sentenced Ortiz Bucio to 29 months in prison and 18 months of community custody for the two counts of second-degree assault that occurred when he pointed the empty gun at law enforcement.

For attempting to elude pursuing police, Wilson sentenced him to 18 months in prison. 

He also was sentenced to 16 months in prison with 12 months community custody for the two counts of third-degree assault connected to the teenage girl.

Lastly, Wilson sentenced him to 364 days in prison for assaulting the girl in the fourth degree over a three-month period in late 2020. 

He will serve each of these sentences concurrently and pay a $600 total fee, according to court documents. 

Additionally, he must undergo evaluations for sexual deviancy and chemical dependency and follow any recommended treatment, Wilson said.

Sheriff Race Impact 

McCoy was one of the deputies who fired his weapon on Jan. 13, 2021 and Ortiz Bucio pleaded guilty to assaulting him. Later that year, McCoy announced his candidacy for Thurston County Sheriff in the 2022 election as a Democrat.

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Foundation raised over $73,000 for K9 Arlo’s medical care via GoFundMe following the shooting. But the fundraiser did not clearly indicate the dog was shot by law enforcement. Arlo’s medical care also was covered by Sheriff’s Office insurance, and the funds raised were needed only for costs not covered by insurance. 

After some confusion about what to do with excess funds, the foundation ultimately donated nearly $58,000 to Project K9 Hero, a non-profit that helps retired K9s. In April 2021, McCoy left the Sheriff’s Office after purchasing Arlo for $1.

Public records indicate McCoy negotiated his leave after the Sheriff’s Office considered a criminal investigation into his social media finances, The Chronicle first reported. 

However, McCoy maintained he was pressured to leave due to the publicity the Sheriff’s Office received because of the shooting and the GoFundMe. 

Deputy Derek Sanders, an independent who is also running for Sheriff, has been critical of McCoy’s social media activity and his negotiated departure from the Sheriff’s Office in the aftermath of the shooting.

Sanders told The Olympian he also took part in the pursuit for Ortiz Bucio, but he did not fire his weapon during the incident.