A Houston man accused of stabbing a police dog was on the run Tuesday after police alleged he led officers on a chase when they sought to question him over his missing father, whose body was later discovered hidden in his home’s garage.
Police say Ryan Mitchell Smith, 26, is considered a person of interest in his father's death and warned that he should be considered a public threat given his recent actions over the past few days, including charges related to trying to steal a car and attacking the police dog.
“Given his previous charge and what we’re looking at now, I think it goes without saying he has a tendency for violence,” said Houston police Commander Kevin Deese. “I would say he’s considered to be dangerous, certainly.”
Smith had been arrested Saturday morning in connection with an attempted carjacking. After fleeing the scene and allegedly stealing merchandise from a store, Smith went to a nearby apartment parking garage, according to police.
At the garage, a Houston police dog named Nate caught up with Smith, who is accused of stabbing the animal. Smith was arrested on charges of robbery, interference with a police service animal and evading arrest.
Police said Nate underwent surgery and was recovering at home.
Smith was released Sunday from the Harris County Jail after family members posted his bonds, according to Deese.
Family members of Smith’s father became concerned Monday when they had not heard from him. Both Smith and his father were staying at the same west Houston home, Deese said.
After only finding the father’s cellphone in the home, family members called police, who searched the house but found nothing.
As officers continued searching the home Monday evening, they noticed the father’s truck parked nearby, Deese said. Officers approached the truck and saw Smith behind the wheel.
Smith fled the scene and led officers on a chase that ended early Tuesday after he crashed the truck near a park, Deese said. Officers lost track of Smith after he ran into a wooded area. A weapon was found in the truck, he said.
Homicide detectives continued searching the home and found the father’s body in the garage.
“He was hidden in a location that made it very difficult for anybody to find him,” Deese said.
An autopsy is pending to determine a cause of death, but Deese said it appears the father did not die of natural causes.
Ralph Manginello, Smith’s attorney, declined to comment to The Associated Press on Tuesday, citing the ongoing investigation.
Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter: https://twitter.com/juanlozano70
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