FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (WWLP) – A Massachusetts State Police K9 was shot in the line of duty during a mission with the STOP Team in Fitchburg early Tuesday.

According to a social media post by the State Police Association of Massachusetts, K9 Frankie was rushed to Wachusett Animal Hospital where he died as a result of his injuries.

“As K9 Frankie did hundreds of times before, he placed himself between police and a dangerous subject. However, today this resulted in his ultimate sacrifice, something we will forever remember”

Massachusetts State Police

PHOTOS: K9 Frankie

K9 Frankie was ten years old at the time of his death and his service was nothing short of incredible. As one of the first K9s to join the tactical program with the STOP Team, he has participated in hundreds of missions and saved countless lives.

In 2017, K9 Frankie and his handler were awarded the Medal of Valor during the George L. Hanna Awards for Bravery ceremony for the apprehension of a gunman.

K9 Frankie is the first Massachusetts State Police dog that has been killed in the line of duty.

Around 9:00 a.m. Tuesday, State Police learned that a fugitive suspect, 38-year-old Matthew Mack, was located on Oliver Street in Fitchburg at a three-story multi-family house. Mack was wanted on warrants for firearm offenses and accessory to a shooting incident on July 21 in Fitchburg.

When officers attempted to contact Mack, he refused to leave the house and it was indicated that he was armed. By noon, State Police had established a tactical position and began negotiations with his via telephone. Negotiators also attempted to talk to family members to persuade Mack to surrender peacefully.

By 2:48 p.m., Mack was seen at the rear exit of the home and Sergeant Stucenski and K9 Frankie approached the suspect in an attempt to arrest him. When Mack saw the team, he fired multiple shots toward them, hitting K9 Frankie, and then he retreated back into the home.

By 5:20 p.m., State Police deployed a drone and observed inside the home that Mack had died from a self-inflicted gunshot.