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'It's tragic': Fugitive task force shoots, kills armed suspect; police K9 killed

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18 mugshots of Brian Filion the suspect in an incident that left police K9 Hondo dead. (Utah County Jail, KUTV)

Investigators confirm the suspect who was shot and killed by a fugitive task force was wanted in connection to a homicide earlier this month in Weber County.

The U.S. Marshals Service identified the suspect as Brian Francis Fillion, 41, of Salt Lake City.

The Violent Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team (VFAST) had been searching for Filion since Wednesday when they were requested to help North Ogden Police. Investigators in North Ogden say Filion was involved in the February 8 murder of 29-year-old Dalton Wood.

VFAST coordinated an operation Thursday night to arrest Filion in Salt Lake City. The team is comprised of local, state, and federal officers who go after fugitives who are known to have a violent past or who have warrants for violent felonies. VFAST was receiving assistance from the Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter and tracked Filion to an apartment complex near 400 East 300 South after 10 p.m.

As Filion was leaving the apartment, officers from the strike team moved in and Filion took off running, according to Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal for Utah Brandon Holt.

Holt says the foot pursuit went into an alleyway when Filion pulled a gun and officers opened fire, striking and killing him.

“Sometimes, the fugitive makes the decision on how the arrest can go down. Unfortunately, carrying a weapon and being a fugitive is a dangerous combination,” Holt said.

A Herriman Police K9 officer, Hondo, was shot during the encounter. Officials have not determined if Filion shot Hondo or if the dog was hit by police gunfire.

“It’s tragic. Our prayers and sympathies go out to Herriman PD,” Holt said.

Witnesses to the shooting reported hearing several gunshots in the alleyway near the Peter Pan Apartments.

“He brandished something and that’s when they fired. There were like 10 officers huddled right here, I thought they were giving the man CPR. I turned back around and they were carrying the dog away,” said Barbara Dawkins.

Dawkins’ apartment window faces the alley where the shooting happened.

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“Beautiful dog — I can’t imagine what the master is going through. That’s what I’m thinking about the most. That dog was a sacrifice for us. Dogs — we don’t give them the credit they deserve,” Dawkins said.

Dawkins and her neighbors erected a small memorial outside the apartment with flowers and a small stone that says “RIP Hondo. Hero to all.”

The Officer-Involved Critical Incident Task Force is now investigating the shooting. Police confirm two officers fired their weapons and have been placed on administrative leave, per protocol.