SAN MARCOS, Texas - San Marcos police officer Stephen Sarver and his K9 partner Rex, a Belgian Malinois, were at the ACC Training Center in Kyle Monday morning. The two have been together for almost three years.
While they prepare for their next patrol, the one they had late last month will certainly be hard to forget. "This is definitely something that is going to stick with me for the rest of my career," said Officer Sarver who described Rex as a balanced and phenomenal dog.
It all started at the San Marcos Econolodge on the afternoon of January 22nd. Investigators say Christian Lee Guzman carjacked a red sedan.
A few minutes later at the San Marcos High School, Guzman allegedly tried to get another car but was chased away. At the Premium Outlets Mall, he was eventually spotted and chased near the electric vehicle charging stations. "I saw him jump into the passenger seat and then he dove out the open passenger window," said Sarver.
Sarver says Guzman ran to a parked SUV and jumped in after prying open the rear hatch. Inside two sisters, 10-& 15-years old, were in the backseat. "Oh they were terrified they were screaming please help I’m very very scared," said Sarver.
At that point, K9 Rex moved in to block Guzman‘s escape, so officers could make the arrest. But Rex wasn’t finished just yet
"I remember looking over and seeing the kids with their parents, I wanted to go talk to them, to see how they were, so when I went over there and talk to them, and they were still very shaken up over the whole situation. I happen to have a dog and kids and everyone seems to love dogs, so I thought I would get the dog out and let them play with the dog and take their mind off of what just happened," said Sarver.
Using law-enforcement K9 officers this way is rare.
"When we started there, in the K9 program we wanted to create a program where the dogs could be very well socialized, and they were able to be around people without fear of them biting people accidentally, or anything like that happening, so we wanted them to be very social dogs," said Sarver.
As a result, Rex is trained to quickly switch from tactical to comfort mode. "He knows when he gets out of the car, if I say, go say hi, he knows to let his guard down and he is allowed to interact with other people, and until that point, he is his normal self essentially," said Sarver.
Guzman is facing multiple charges. His bond was set at more than $100,000.