WRONG MAN: K-9 Unit Attacks Bystander

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A Polk County K-9 unit went after a Des Moines man Thursday night. The dog latched onto him, biting him three times. The problem is - the man wasn't the person police were after.

The Polk County Sherriff’s Department said it all started with a brief chase that ended near 4141 15th street. The suspect drove into the driveway of that house, and got out of his car and ran into the woods.

“I was standing right there behind that tree, and I saw a red car coming down, it was about half way down the block and I saw it speeding down here,” said neighbor Jared Primrose who saw the entire incident unfold, “He then continued to jump out of his car after he put it in park and he ran right into the woods right there.”

Polk County Sheriff’s Deputy, Mark Mohr, wasn't far behind. He got out of his car and released his K-9 unit, Dameon, after the suspect. That's when Primrose said Dameon ran, not towards the suspect, but towards a person standing in a nearby driveway. Officials identified that person as 25-year-old Andrew Levy.

Levy was bit in the arm, leg, and hip.

Officials say Deputy Mohr didn't see Levy before he sent Dameon out, and attempts to call him off were unsuccessful.

“I think it’s difficult for everyone involved. Not only did an innocent person get injured, but we`ve got some checking up on what do we do from here. How do we proceed from here and how do we make it right for the individual who was bit,” said Sgt. Jana Abens.

Levy received stitches for his injuries and has since been released from the hospital.

K-9 Dameon is not currently in service.  The Polk County Sheriff’s Office plans to investigate and evaluate the incident.

Dameon and his handler, Deputy Mohr, have seized large quantities of drugs and have made numerous apprehensions in their years together. They have earned 2 awards for excellent performance: one in 2011 for Case of the Year and one in 2012 for 3rd Place Detector Dog.

Authorities haven't identified or located the suspect from the chase.