Bruno is happier days. Photo via Anaheim Police Department Twitter.

A retired Anaheim Police dog who still carried the bullet that seriously wounded him two years ago died Wednesday morning at a hospital.

Bruno was taken to Yorba Regional Anaheim Hospital Saturday afternoon when he suffered complications related to the injuries from the March 20, 2014, shooting, according to Anaheim police Sgt. Daron Wyatt.

The German shepherd underwent emergency surgery Saturday night, Wyatt said. The dog’s organs began failing early today and he had to be put down, Wyatt said.

Bruno was wounded as he assisted SWAT officers searching for a gunman who had reportedly shot at probation officers.

The suspect, later identified as Robert Moreno Jr., 21, shot the dog in the jaw and chest before he was fatally shot by authorities.

Bruno was treated at Yorba Regional Anaheim Hospital for a collapsed lung and other injuries.

The dog became “somewhat of a folk hero” following the shooting, Wyatt said

Bruno, a six-year department veteran, was retired a month after the shooting. He was living with his former handler, Office R.J. Young and his family, Wyatt said.

The officers involved in the shooting of Moreno were cleared of any wrongdoing in a Nov. 21, 2014, report from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, which investigates officer-involved incidents.

The incident with Moreno started just before 2 p.m. when probation officers went to Anaheim as part of a unit that focuses on gang members on probation or parole. The two probation officers saw three men in a cul-de-sac on West Lodge Avenue, a known hotbed of gang activity, and as they approached the group two of the men fled, according to prosecutors.

The two suspects ran into an alley between 917 and 921 W. Lodge Ave., and the third man stayed behind and was detained.

Moreno pulled out a handgun and opened fire at one of the officers, prompting a call for help from police, according to prosecutors.

Moreno continued shooting as he ran away toward the 1100 block of North Mayfair Avenue, prosecutors said.

Officer Young and Bruno arrived on the scene about 3:10 p.m. Bruno tracked Moreno to a trash can on a patio at 1152 N. Mayfair Ave.

“Bruno walked north along the east fence line and put his front paws on top of the trash can on the south side of the backyard,” according to Deputy District Attorney Barbara Kim’s report on the officer-involved shooting.

“Bruno placed his nose next to the lid of the trash can and sniffed around it,” Kim wrote. “Bruno briefly took his paws off of the trash can and jumped up onto his hind legs. When Bruno placed his nose under the lid of the trash can and attempted to open it, the lid of the trash can opened briefly and Moreno shot Bruno.”

The wounded dog scampered back to his handler, Young, who led him away, Kim wrote.

“Moreno continued to fire at the officers, prompting them to return fire,” Kim said.

Moreno, who was shot about 23 times, was pronounced dead at the scene. He had methamphetamine and other drugs in his system, according to the autopsy report.

Moreno had a lengthy criminal history dating back to 2007, including arrests for battery on a police officer, possession of narcotics and gang activity, according to Kim.

“Bruno was shot once in the lower jaw and the bullet went through one lung and lodged one inch from his heart,” according to Kim. “The veterinarians who treated Bruno were not able to remove the bullet and it remains inside him at the present time.”

Half of one of the dog’s lungs was removed and he had to undergo multiple reconstructive surgeries of his jaw, Kim said. The dog spent seven weeks recuperating in a veterinary hospital.

At the time of Kim’s November 2014 report, “Bruno has since re-learned to use his jaw and tongue enough to eat on his own, but with much difficulty,” Kim said.

“Bruno tires after about five minutes of any physical activity, since he is missing half a lung,” Kim wrote.

Bruno was six years old at the time of the shooting.

—City News Service

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