Man who stabbed K-9 shot, killed by deputy in Gobles

Van Buren County

GOBLES, Mich. (WOOD) — A man who stabbed a police dog in Gobles was shot and killed by a Van Buren County sheriff’s deputy Monday night, authorities said.

Multiple sources identified the man killed as Jacob Bender, 39, of Gobles.

An undated courtesy photo of Jacob Bender.

Sheriff Daniel Abbott told News 8 that deputies were initially called to a home on N. State Street near Bush Street in Gobles around 7:30 p.m. on a report of a domestic assault. They didn’t find Bender right away.

After getting a warrant, deputies went back to the house around 9:30 p.m. Abbott said his wife told them that he was hiding in a basement crawl space.

“Once they found the hidden crawl space — there was also a way to access it from the back of the residence — our K-9 handler was able to see him hiding in there. He could see his hand. Kept giving him verbal commands: ‘Come out, come out, come out, or I’m gonna send in the K-9.’ The K-9 was sent in,” Abbott said.

Authorities say Bender stabbed the dog three times. His handler was able to get him out.

A deputy then went inside and was confronted by the suspect, Abbott said.

“Once they went downstairs to try and take him into custody, the subject was tased to no avail,” the sheriff said. “The subject still did have the knife in his possession, did not go by verbal commands and unfortunately, the deputies ended up using lethal force once they were confronted with a subject with a knife coming at them.”

The dog, named Kuno, was taken to a veterinarian in Kalamazoo, treated and released Tuesday.

Michigan State Police is investigating the shooting and the deputy involved is on administrative leave while the inquiry plays out. That is all standard procedure.

Abbott said Bender had two warrants out for his arrest at the time of his death. Online MSP records show he had a criminal history dating back to 2005 that included assault, impaired driving, drug and domestic violence convictions.

Though neighbors said authorities had often been called to the Bender home, they were in shock Tuesday over the shooting.

“This just doesn’t happen. We never see anything like it,” neighbor Baylee Goff said.

Gobles resident Jill Szotek said her grandson used to take guitar lessons from Bender.

“I have been inside that house numerous times,” she said. “It was always nice and clean; didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. (Bender was) very nice to my grandson.”

They said they were surprised that Bender would harm a police dog, saying he had his own German shepherd and was a breeder.

“Prayers for the police officer and everybody that was involved in the incident because that’s traumatic for them as well,” Goff said. “It’s not the force they want to use.”

—News 8’s Brittany Flowers and Kyle Mitchell contributed to this report.

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