Reporting Kristin Marshall
RIO LINDA (CBS13) – The suspected car thief who shot a Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department K-9 has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Officials say the shooting happened just after 4 a.m. on Friday in Rio Linda.
Deputies say they chased the suspect into a rural area, north of I-80 along Elverta Road and 16th Street where he hid in the tall grass. Two sheriff’s department K-9s were sent to find the suspect, who fired at them and other deputies, hitting one dog, Drago, in the chest.
“The K-9 dog who was shot by at least one bullet, was hit in the chest, through and through — chest to shoulder wound. No vital organs have been hit,” said Sacramento Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Lisa Bowman.
Deputies did not return fire, retreated and immediately rushed officer Drago to a clinic, which is about 10 minutes away.
Officers from several agencies raced to the scene after hearing Drago had been hit.
Law enforcement officers honed in on their man, setting up a large perimeter on the ground, while a CHP helicopter focused on the area from above. Hours later with the help of daylight, deputies confirmed they found the suspect and sent two more K-9 deputies to flush him out.
Deputies fired tried to contact the suspect several times and even fired non-lethal rounds near the suspect, but with no response. Deputies eventually found the suspect lying on the ground with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He was still alive, but unconscious.
Drago is expected to fully recover and return to the force. He is a five-year veteran of the department and has been with this handler for at least a year. He was not wearing a vest at the time of the shooting.
The suspect’s identity is being withheld until the coroner can confirm it.
First Look: Drago Recovering In Hospital