A memorial service was held Wednesday for a Long Beach police dog who was fatally shot while working to apprehend a knife-wielding suspect who was also killed in the gunfire.
Credo, a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois, was killed June 28 as police were trying to arrest a suspect wanted in connection with a December 2014 gang- related shooting. Credo had been with the department for about two years.
Dozens of people attended the service at LBPOA Park, including police dog handlers and their animal partners marching past a memorial honoring law enforcement K-9s who have died.
Long Beach police Chief Robert Luna told the crowd Credo’s death comes at a poignant time, when tensions between law enforcement and the community have been strained following highly publicized fatal shootings across the country.
Luna said he can’t think of a time when “the men and woman in law enforcement need your support more than they do right now.”
“We really need the silent majority to step up and talk about the appreciation you have for law enforcement,” he said.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Credo’s memory to the Long Beach K9 Officers Association by visiting its website at www.lbk9oa.org or mailing to P.O. Box 17366, Long Beach, 90807.
Credo was killed while police worked to arrest Barry Prak, 27, of Long Beach, who had been spotted by members of a U.S. Marshals Service task force that includes Long Beach police. He ran from the area of 16th Street and Temple Avenue to the apartment of an acquaintance in the 2800 block of East 15th Street, according to the LBPD.
The area was surrounded and a Long Beach police SWAT team was summoned.
Nearby residences were evacuated and the suspect was ordered to exit the apartment, police said.
The man exited, but failed to comply with verbal commands and instead “began to aggressively charge the officers,” according to police.
Officers deployed “intermediate force options,” including a 40mm rubber baton round and the canine Credo, who was attached to the SWAT team.
Credo tried to stop the man’s advance toward officers and as the dog fought with the suspect, the man produced a knife and one officer fired at the suspect — striking him and Credo. A 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 the dog’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 by Parcells to a nearby animal hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The suspect was treated by paramedics at the scene and was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
Parcells has been a K-9 handler for 16 years. Another of his police dog partners, a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois named Ranger, was fatally shot Oct. 2, 2005, while police tried to flush an armed parolee from a hiding spot under a porch.
“These K-9s are not just dogs. 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,” LBPD Deputy Chief Richard Conant said.
Credo worked patrol and narcotics operations primarily, and was involved in more than 30 apprehensions in his police career.
—City News Service