Bakersfield, CA – Bakersfield Police Department (BPD) K9 Jango died in the line of duty on April 27 after being shot while pursuing an armed felon, police said.
The incident began just before 9 p.m., when BPD officers spotted a vehicle that had been reported as stolen traveling eastbound on Highway 58, KGET reported.
The male suspect refused to stop and led officers on a chase before crashing through a fence and onto an embankment, police said.
He then bailed out and took of on foot in the 2000-block of Feliz Drive, KGET reported.
Officers and K9 Jango chased after him at attempted to take him into custody, at which point the suspect opened fire, the BPD said in a Facebook post.
K9 Jango was hit during the attack and officers immediately returned fire, killing the suspect, KGET reported.
The wounded K9 was rushed to an emergency veterinary hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
The investigation into the officer-involved shooting and the death of K9 Jango remains ongoing, the BPD said.
The five-and-one-half-year-old Belgian Malinois was born in the Netherlands and had been serving alongside his human partner, BPD Officer Brock Mueller, since March of 2017, KGET reported.
“In his time with us, he faithfully served the community of Bakersfield in the field of suspect apprehension and explosive material detection,” the agency’s Facebook post read.
The BPD said Officer Mueller was K9 Jango’s best friend.
“That officer works every day with that dog,” BPD Sergeant Robert Pair told GETG. “It is more than a dog to that officer – it is their best friend. That officer is understandably devastated.”
The @bakersfieldpd is mourning the loss of one of their own, K9 Jango. 5yr old Jango was shot & killed last night as he and Ofc Mueller approached a suspect. Jango served Bakersfield since 2017 & died doing what he did best, protecting people.
Rest Easy 💙 pic.twitter.com/ELZHthoGSq
— K9s of Valor (@k9sofvalor) April 28, 2021
May the Fourth Be with You, Jango 💙
You are greatly missed, buddy.
— Bakersfield Police (@bakersfieldpd) May 4, 2021
RIP. K9 Jango was murdered when he was shot and killed while apprehending a convicted felon following a pursuit of a stolen vehicle. #rip #hero #murdered #endofwatch #k9Jango #BakersfieldPoliceDepartment #lawenforcement #thinblueline #bluelivesmatter #backtheblue #igy6 pic.twitter.com/EQxB13eXPT
— Protecting the Blue (@protectingblue) April 28, 2021
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bakersfield Police Department and Officer Mueller in the loss of K9 Jango.