BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — 23ABC continues to learn more information after an officer-involved shooting in east Bakersfield Tuesday night, that killed a suspect and one of the department’s K-9's.
It began with a traffic stop on Highway 58 near Cottonwood Road just before 9 p.m. The Bakersfield Police Department 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.”
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. No human officers were injured.
“That dog was transported to an emergency veterinary hospital where that dog succumbed to its injuries and died.”
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.”
Chief Terry says memorial plans for Jango have not yet been finalized. As more information becomes available, it will be released.
So far, the suspect has only been identified as an adult man. BPD also says the officers involved were wearing body cameras, and that footage will be released as the investigation allows.