BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The Bakersfield Police Department has released a video from the night that a K-9 was killed in the line of duty. The video includes actual footage of the shooting.
The incident began with a traffic stop on Highway 58 near Cottonwood Road just before 9 p.m. BPD says officers attempted to stop a vehicle that had previously been reported as stolen, Bakersfield Police Sergeant Robert Pair gave more information about the incident.
“The vehicle failed to yield, abruptly traveled on to the south embankment, crashed through a chain-linked fence, and came to a stop.”
WARNING: THE VIDEO BELOW CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT THAT SOME VIEWERS MAY FIND DISTURBING. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED. IT IS AN EDITED VERSION OF EVENTS PROVIDED BY THE BAKERSFIELD POLICE DEPARTMENT.
The lone person in the vehicle left the scene on foot with police giving chase, eventually containing the person in the backyard of a residence in the 2000 block of Feliz Drive in east Bakersfield.
BPD said a police K-9 handler and his K-9 partner, a five-year-old Belgian Malinois named Jango, approached the suspect.
According to BPD, it appears Jango was struck when the suspect opened fire. Officers then returned fire, striking the suspect, who died at the scene.
The suspect was later identified as Dalton James Gerrit Kooiman, 20, of Bakersfield.
No human officers were injured.
"That dog was transported to an emergency veterinary hospital where that dog succumbed to its injuries and died," said Sgt. Pair.
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According to a biography on the BPD website, Jango was from the Netherlands, and his commands were given in Czech. He served the community of Bakersfield in the field of suspect apprehension and explosive material detection.
BPD Police Chief Greg Terry says Jango was united with his human partner in March of 2017. A BPD website biography identifying Jango’s partner simply as officer Mueller, the two pictured here. However, BPD has not confirmed if officer Mueller was the K-9 handler involved in Tuesday's incident.
“That officer works every day with that dog, it is more than a dog to that officer, it’s their best friend. That officer is understandably devastated.”
UPDATE: Coroner identifies man involved in incident that left police K-9 dead
According to a statement released along with the video, the BPD says in part: "Our commitment to community trust requires openness and transparency in all matters, especially the use of deadly force by a police officer. While this investigation has moved to a point where it is practical to release this information, the matter is still under review. The involved officers remain on administrative leave pending a determination by the Chief of Police as to the appropriateness of their actions under state law and department policy."
Officers involved in the shooting were identified as Officer Brock Mueller and Officer Johnny Moreno. Officer Mueller has been an officer with the department for approximately 5 years and Officer Moreno has been an officer for approximately six years.