Murrieta, CA – A San Diego County sheriff’s K9 officer was shot while he was helping apprehend three armed robbery suspects early on Sunday morning.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said the incident occurred just before midnight on Sept. 4 when a witness told a deputy that a 7-Eleven had just been robbed in Lakeside, KTLA reported.
The deputy pursued the suspected robbers and tried to stop them but the vehicle refused to stop.
California Highway Patrol officers took over the chase and then Murrieta police joined in at about 12:20 a.m., KTLA reported.
Murrieta police said in a press release that the pursuit exited the 215 Freeway at Los Alamos Road and then the suspects opened fire on police.
Police said the suspects fired multiple rounds at officers before stopping at a Shell gas station on Los Alamos, KTLA reported.
That’s where the three armed robbery suspects jumped out of their car at the gas station and tried to carjack another vehicle at gunpoint.
Officials said that San Diego County Sheriff’s K9 Cezar was deployed to stop the carjacking, KTLA reported.
One of the suspects opened fire and shot K9 Cezar in the leg.
Two of the suspects were arrested immediately after the K9 officer was shot, KTLA reported.
The third suspect fled on foot but was apprehended shortly thereafter by a SWAT team and a Murrieta police K9 officer.
The suspect was injured during the K9 apprehension, KTLA reported.
Murrieta police said he was arrested and taken to the hospital for treatment of injuries related to his arrest.
Police have not yet publicly identified the armed-robbery suspect, KTLA reported.
The wounded K9 Cezar was transported to a local veterinary hospital where he underwent surgery to have the bullet fragments removed from his leg.
1/5 K-9 Cezar being wheeled into surgery after valiantly protecting his handler @SDSheriff Deputy Avedisian and the public following a robbery and chase from Lakeside to Murrieta. At some point, the suspects started shooting and Cezar was hit in the leg. pic.twitter.com/tSP9SFrZdM
— San Diego Sheriff (@SDSheriff) September 6, 2021
The furry hero was expected to make a full recovery, KTLA reported.
Just like any doggo, he doesn’t like his meds. Solution? Yummy peanut butter.🤫 Cezar will be off duty for the next two weeks to receive tons of TLC. He’ll then return to training with his handler @SDSheriff Deputy Avedesian to warm up his leg for runs and jumps over obstacles. pic.twitter.com/eZD1puimzY
— San Diego Sheriff (@SDSheriff) September 7, 2021
“Cezar was shot while trying to stop a suspect from carjacking people at the end of the chase. He likely kept the suspect from getting away & possibly hurting others,” the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said. “Cezar did as he was trained. He protected his deputy handler, the public and our law enforcement partners.”