Ryan Mitchell Smith is the suspect accused of stabbing a Houston Police K-9 during a foot pursuit on Saturday, January 22, 2022. K-9 Nate underwent surgery at VERGI Animal Hospital and is recovering, police said on Twitter.
Smith, who was released on $25,000 bond in the stabbing case, is also now being questioned in the death of his father. Smith was arrested a second time by the Houston Police while walking on Highway 159 in Waller County about 2 p.m. on January 25, police said on Twitter. He is facing an additional charge of felony evading for events that happened after he posted bail, according to police.
Houston Police officials said at a press conference that after being released from jail following his arrest on January 22, Smith returned home and was staying with his father. On the morning of January 24, Smith’s family became concerned because they had not heard from his father, police said. When officers went to the home on Carolcrest Drive, near Memorial Drive, they spotted Smith in a stolen pickup truck and he fled, according to police. He then crashed the truck in the Memorial Park area and ran on foot, eluding officers.
Investigators then returned to the home where Smith had been staying and found his father dead in a garage in an apparent homicide, according to police. Police have not released a cause of death for Smith’s father, except saying it does not appear to be natural causes. They said his body was hidden.
Commander Kevin Deese said at the press conference prior to Smith’s re-arrest, “Given his previous charge and what we are looking at now, I think it goes without saying that he has a tendency for violence. We’ve been in contact with other family members who aren’t in this area to put them on notice. But yes, he is considered to be dangerous.” Anyone with information is asked to call the Houston Police Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or CrimeStoppers at 713-222-TIPS, Deese said.
The stabbing of K-9 Nate happened in the area of 1600 Bass Street about 7:50 a.m. on January 23, police said. Smith was arrested and charged with interference with a police animal, evading arrest and robbery with bodily injury, according to Houston Police and Harris County court records.
Houston Police said in a statement, “Officers responded to an attempted carjacking call at 800 Memorial Heights Drive. Witnesses stated Smith had left the location and went to a nearby store where he stole merchandise and fled. Officers then located Smith inside a nearby apartment parking garage at the above address and he attempted to evade officers.”
Police added, “HPD K-9 ‘Nate’ caught up to Smith behind a building where Smith then stabbed ‘Nate.’ Officers provided emergency care to the K-9 “Nate” on scene. Smith was taken into custody without further incident and charged for his role in the incident.” Officials said Smith used a butcher knife to stab the police dog. “HPD K-9 ‘Nate’ was transported to an emergency veterinary center, underwent surgery and is now home with his HPD partner,” police said.
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Ryan Smith Left His Mother’s House Before the Stabbing ‘Looking for Guns & Talking About Killing Himself,’ & Was Possibly Suffering a Psychotic Break, Police Said
Ryan Smith posted $25,000 bond after his arrest, according to court records. His next court appearance is scheduled for April 5, 2022, Harris County court records show. His bail was posted on January 23, according to court records.
According to court documents, Smith is accused of threatening to kill the driver of a car if he didn’t hand over car keys. Houston Police Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite said Smith’s mother was the first to call 911, about 6:30 a.m., telling police he had left the house and was “looking for guns and talking about killing himself.” Police went to his home but he wasn’t there.
About 7:50 a.m., Smith tried to steal a car from two men, Satterwhite said. He then fled on foot after failing at the carjacking and went into a H-E-B store, where he stole a cell phone charger and ran again, Satterwhite said. Officers caught up to Smith in a parking garage near Interstate 10, behind the Walmart area, close to Yale and I-10, in an apartment complex, Satterwhite said. Officers set up a perimeter and called for K-9 officers, and he “managed to jump buildings, jumped apartment complex parking garages,” according to Satterwhite. He then ran back onto the street around the perimeter.
Smith was found near the I-10 and the service road, Satterwhite said. He said that after a foot chase, K-9 Nate was released and caught him behind a building. Nate’s handler then “heard a yelp from the dog,” and saw Smith holding a “large, butcher knife in an upper-raised motion and apparently had just stabbed our dog.” The handler ordered Smith to drop the knife and he did, Satterwhite said.
Satterwhite said, “It sounds like he’s under some type of mental illness, some type of psychotic episode.” Smith was not injured and the attempted carjacking victims were also not injured. Satterwhite said Nate lost a lot of blood from a stab wound to the chest area.
Smith, who lives in Houston, does not appear to have a prior criminal record in Harris County. It was not immediately known if he has any previous arrests or convictions elsewhere in Texas or outside of the state. Smith is being represented by attorney Ralph Manginello. He told Heavy on Houston that his client’s case was reset to April so they can obtain discovery from the district attorney’s office and perform an investigation.
Nate Is a 4-Year-old Malinois & He Has Been Assigned to the Houston Police Department SWAT Team for the Past 2 Years
K-9 Nate, a 4-year-old Malinois, is at home recovering with his handler, Officer Paul Foster, and police said, “The doctors say surgery was successful and everyone is hopeful he will make a full recovery.” Foster posted on Instagram, “Home and recovering!! So blessed to have my boy home with me. I want to again thank @vergi247er for the amazing life saving surgery and care they provided Nate. I also want to thank my co workers @houstonpolice for their incredible support.”
“I am overwhelmed by the support from around the country. Your thoughts and prayers have given great encouragement,” Foster wrote. “Nate is a true hero and I am so blessed to have the opportunity to work with him every single day to protect our City.”
In a previous update, Foster detailed some of what Nate went through after the stabbing, “It was a rough night. They have him heavily sedated for the pain. He is still very dehydrated from blood loss and is receiving a constant drip of fluids. Praying his red blood cell count goes up on its own and we do not need any further transfusions. Keep Nate in your thoughts and prayers. He is a fighter and definitely has a fight ahead of him”
Foster and Nate are assigned to the department’s Tactical Operations Division and SWAT team. According to the police press release, Nate has been working with Foster for two years and was adopted by the police department three years ago.
Foster previously was the handler for K-9 T-Rex, who retired in 2019 after losing his leg during a cancer battle, according to Click2Houston. T-Rex lives with Foster and Nate, and the handler has used Instagram to document the lives of the two police dogs.
VERGI Animal Hospital wrote on Instagram, “This morning, we received a call that an injured K-9 officer was en route to our hospital. He and his handler arrived just before 9 and were rushed to the treatment area where life-saving measures were immediately begun. The surgeon was notified and on his way. Our amazing team went to work to save Nate’s life as well as support his handler and the many officers who showed up to support Nate.
The animal hospital added, “In true dog fashion, Nate’s tail never stopped wagging, even as he was injured and covered in blood. We wish Nate a speedy recovery! It was an honor to be the hospital this officer trusted to save his partner’s life.”