By Barbara Hollands
A FOUR-LEGGED member of East London’s K9 unit has become an international Facebook sensation after he fearlessly attacked an armed suspect following an armed robbery in Rosedale Park.
Samurai, a plucky three-and-a-half-year-old German shepherd, broke the suspect’s arm and tore into his (evidently) not-so-private parts after the 18-year-old failed to heed warnings from Samurai’s handler, Warrant Officer Killian Steyn, on Friday, November 16.
Now Samurai has been branded a hero after details of the incident appeared on online crime-fighting Facebook page Crime Spotter Buffalo, attracting more than 1 500 comments from as far afield as the US, UK and New Zealand.
The story has also gained almost 5 800 “likes” – more than any entry in the history of Crime Spotter.
“Great doggie, let’s hope he didn’t catch anything nasty,” posted Charlotte Gamlin, while Ian Crawford demanded, “Give that dog a bone!”
Other humorous messages of congratulations included Daniel Howard Vanbuskirk’s, “My Shep always went for the ball”, and Angela Lavender’s, “Another one bites the nuts!”
Police spokesman Captain Stephen Marais said Steyn chased the suspect following an armed robbery in Woolwash Road. A man had been robbed of his groceries and R30 by a group of youths, one of whom was armed with a pistol.
“Two of the suspects were apprehended by police, but the one with the firearm ran into the bush and was followed by Warrant Officer Steyn and Samurai,” Marais said.
“He shouted warnings, the suspect ignored the warnings, so the dog apprehended him.”
Marais said the suspect aimed his firearm at Samurai, but the hound leapt up and responded by breaking his arm.
“The suspect kicked the dog which attacked his groin.”
Steyn arrested the man charged with armed robbery and the unlawful possession of an unlicensed firearm.
“He will appear in court once he has been discharged from Frere Hospital,” Marais said.
Crime Spotter co-founder and former policeman Neville Worsfold has labelled Samurai “a folk hero with cult status” following the outpouring of online support.
“Samurai and Warrant Officer Steyn have received thousands of messages – more than ever before on our Facebook site.
“Some [people] have even said Samurai should receive a medal. People are so chuffed with this animal. I think it is because people are simply gatvol of crime,” Worsfold said.
The proud canine’s handler said it was “definitely a nice feeling” the dog he had been training for eight months had been recognised for his bravery.
This is a shortened version of an article that appeared in the print edition of the Weekend Post on Saturday, November 24, 2012.