Dog complicates arrest attempt

A search for a man on Western Washington’s most wanted list led Island County Sheriff’s deputies to a Clinton home Sunday afternoon.

That day Deputies Rick Norrie and Laura Price were alerted that Lawrence “Lonny” Hill, a man wanted for armed robbery, was at the home of a friend with his girlfriend. Hill, who is wanted by the Seattle Police Department and federal marshals, was considered dangerous, which prompted the response by local law enforcement. However, he was not found at the address. Only his 20-year-old girlfriend and two companions were found at the location.

While the three people eventually cooperated with deputies, the girlfriend’s pit bull grabbed Norrie on the leg, forcing him to shoot the dog in the muzzle. Norrie did not require stitches.

The dog was not seriously injured.

Events began at about noon Sunday when deputies were alerted that Hill might have been on South Whidbey.

“We were alerted that the girlfriend was seen in Langley with a man and another woman. The man was wearing a cap, so we didn’t know if it was Hill,” Norrie said.

Norrie followed the three to a home off Cultus Bay Road and near Wintergreen Drive and waited for backup from Price.

“We still didn’t know at the time whether Hill was in the house,” Norrie said.

According to Norrie, the three people were ordered out of the home and told to lie on the ground.

While Norrie was handcuffing the man, a pit bull came around a corner of the house and grabbed his upper leg. Norrie said he shot the dog in the muzzle, which caused it to let go.

Island County deputies were contacted by the Seattle Police Department and Federal marshals in early February about Hill, who is known to frequent Whidbey Island. When his three alleged companions were spotted in Langley Sunday, deputies were concerned they were trying to leave the island on the ferry.

Deputies believed they spotted Hill with his girlfriend and another person in a car leaving the island by ferry.

“We held up the ferry while we searched for the car on board,” Norrie said.

The trio was not on the ferry, but were later spotted on Cultus Bay Road going to a house that is a known hangout.

Norrie said as they approached the house on foot that he and Price noticed a car with its hood up.

“We were on the alert. It didn’t feel right,” Norrie said.

Talking about the dog attack, Norrie said he had met and petted the dog on a previous visit to the home, so he first tried to calm it. He said the dog likely attacked after it sensed fear from the people he and Price were apprehending.

“I was trying to calm it down,” he said. “But the dog sensed fear. The man was agitated and I believe the dog could sense fear from the three individuals. “

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