One person was killed and two people injured, including a police officer, during a Sunday night gunfight on the outskirts of Tulare, police have confirmed.
The police officer, part of the Tulare Police Department’s K-9 unit, was shot in the torso and hand but “his vest did its job and he doesn’t appear to be seriously injured,” police said.
His police dog, a 1-and-one-half-year-old Belgain Malinois-German shepard mix named Bane, was killed in the shootout.
The violence erupted following a car chase around 7 p.m. The vehicle sped away during an attempted traffic stop and led officers on a chase that ended just west of Tulare Avenue. It is unknown if the driver stopped the vehicle or if there was a mechanical issue, police said.
There were four officers in the area when the vehicle came to a stop, including the K-9 officer and his partner.
As the dog was deployed toward the car, shots were fired from a suspect inside the vehicle. Bane and his handler were both hit. The other officers returned fire, police said.
In a news release sent Monday, interim police chief Matt Machado said there were three people inside the vehicle; two men and a woman.
A 35-year-old man was shot and taken to the hospital, where he died. A 28-year-old woman was also shot and is in the hospital in critical condition.
The third subject, a 25-year-old man identified as Cameron Ware of Visalia was not injured. He is being charged with four counts of attempted homicide and the death of a police K-9. He also had four outstanding misdemeanor warrants, police said.
The investigation has been turned over to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department while the Tulare Police Department conducts an administrative investigation.
The department is not releasing the name of the officers involved, but said they included a sergeant who has worked with the department for 16 years, a five-year veteran and an officer who has been on the job for six months. They have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigations, police said.
The K-9 officer had just completed a five-week training course with Bane and was scheduled to attend certification training on explosive detection with the dog. A service will be played for Bane once the officer has recovered, Machado said in his statement.
“We would like to thank our citizens who came out early this morning to pay their respects as we escorted Bane back into town. We’d like to thank those officers and departments that came out as well,” he said.