The friendly-fire death of a Long Beach police dog in a battle with a knife-wielding suspect rocked the law enforcement community Wednesday.
The suspect was also killed by the same police round that hit 4-year-old police dog “Credo” as the suspect and the dog fought. Credo’s death was the second time his officer-handler lost a canine partner under fire, and the officer was visibly angry at the shooting scene.
“These K-9s are not just dogs,” said Long Beach Deputy Police Chief Richard Conant. “These are police officers. This dog was injured in the performance of his duty and that’s going to weigh heavily on the Long Beach police family.”
The incident began with a barricade situation with the assault suspect.
Police originally went to the 2800 block of East 15th Street Tuesday to look for a man wanted in connection with multiple shootings, according to the Long Beach Police Department. The suspect was considered armed and dangerous.
Once they located the suspect, officers said the man aggressively charged at the officers, and “intermediate” force options were deployed, including a 40mm rubber baton round and the police service dog attached to a special weapons team.
The service dog, a Belgian Malinois named Credo, tried to stop the man’s advance towards officers, Long Beach police said.
As Credo fought with the suspect, the suspect produced a knife and one officer discharged his weapon to protect himself and the other officers from the suspect, Long Beach officers said..
Both the suspect and Credo were struck by that officer’s gunfire, police said.
The knife was recovered at the scene.
Following the shooting, an officer was seen carrying Credo’s limp body from the scene and placing the canine on a sidewalk.
The officer, believed to be Credo’s handler, Officer Mike Parcells, was visibly angry and shaken, ripping off his helmet and hurling it away before burying his head in his hand.
The dog was then placed into a patrol car and driven to a nearby animal hospital, where it was pronounced dead.
“It is with heartfelt sadness that we announce our K9 Credo succumbed to his injuries,” the LBPD tweeted.
The suspect was treated by paramedics at the scene and was later pronounced dead at a hospital. The suspect’s name was not immediately released.
Parcells, who has been with the department for more than 20 years, also lost a police dog partner in 2005. Ranger, a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois, was fatally shot Oct. 2, 2005, while police tried to flush an armed parolee from a hiding spot under a porch.
After Credo’s death was announced, dozens of officers stood in line outside the animal hospital and saluted as Credo’s flag-draped body was carried out of the building and placed inside a police K-9 unit SUV.
Conant said Credo had been with the department for two years.
“This is going to be a substantial loss to our K-9 corps, to our K-9 handler who has worked with Credo the past two years and to the Long Beach police family,” Conant said.
Police said Credo worked patrol and narcotics operations primarily, and was involved in more than 30 apprehensions in his police career.
No other injuries were reported, police said.
–Staff and wire reports