The unarmed robbery suspect who was severely bitten on the leg by a Prince George's County police dog Thursday remained hospitalized yesterday in fair condition, officials said.
Donald Blankenship, 30, of Burtonsville, was at Prince George's Hospital Center, where he underwent surgery for one of his wounds Thursday, police said. One of the dog bites severed an artery, officials said.
The 23-member county canine unit is accused of excessive force in at least 13 pending civil suits, and the FBI is investigating whether it engages in a pattern of brutality. County officials have said that the police dogs will be retrained this summer to catch suspects without necessarily biting them.
Police said Blankenship tried but failed to rob a clerk at Montgomery Ward in Landover about 11:30 a.m., and then went to a Greenbelt gas station, where he grabbed money from an open cash register. Driving a stolen Dodge truck, police said, Blankenship encountered a police roadblock on New Hampshire Avenue in Langley Park that had been set up after the two robbery attempts.
Blankenship fought officers and tried to run, police said.
A canine officer, who heard of the chase on her police radio and went to the scene, unleashed her police dog. Blankenship is over 6 feet tall and weighs more than 200 pounds, according to court records. Police said they believed he might have been armed.
Charges against Blankenship were pending yesterday in Prince George's. He was being held at the hospital on a felony first-degree assault warrant from Montgomery County, police said. Blankenship is suspected in more than 10 robberies in Montgomery and Prince George's, police said.
Blankenship's mother, Beverly Blankenship, said yesterday that hospital officials have not allowed her to see her son and would not tell her details of his condition, beyond characterizing it as "fair."
Hospital officials did not return phone calls.