A Fresno County Sheriff’s K-9 was shot by friendly fire Tuesday morning during an arrest operation led by a SWAT team.
Detectives doing surveillance about 9 a.m. outside an apartment complex on the 1900 block of East Saginaw Way in Fresno discovered a stolen vehicle parked out front.
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They attempted to get three men who were linked to the stolen vehicle to come out of the apartment but were unsuccessful, so the SWAT team was called to the scene, said Tony Botti, spokesman of the Fresno County Sheriff's Office.
About 12:45 p.m., SWAT members deployed tear gas and forced the three suspects to surrender.
As deputies continued to search apartments at the complex, two pit bull dogs charged them and began to attack Mikey, the K-9, said Botti. Deputies fired multiple rounds striking and killing one pit bull while the other ran off. One of the rounds hit Mikey on a front foot, causing a severe injury.
Mikey is a six-year-old Dutch shepherd and has worked at the Sheriff’s Office for three years. His injury is not believed to be life-threatening, but the prognosis for his leg and foot is unknown, said Botti.
A veterinarian was to make a decision about his treatment.
Deputies arrested three people; Patrick Kasper, 24, Aaron Schwabenland, 27 and Staci Gomez, 30, all of Fresno, said Botti. They also recovered six guns and body armor. The suspects have been booked in the Fresno County Jail on resisting arrest and multiple felony charges.
Anyone with additional information on any of the suspects in this case is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 559-600-3111 or call Crime Stoppers at 559-498-STOP (7867). Callers will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.