The Citrus Heights police K-9 originally believed to have been shot in the face Tuesday evening was not actually hit by gunfire but was just covered in the shooter’s blood.
Following an officer-involved shooting just after 7:30 p.m. outside the Sunrise Mall, the Citrus Heights Police Department originally reported that a responding police dog had been shot. The dog’s handling officer was also shot through his uniform but was uninjured.
The shooter, who was killed by officers returning fire, fired into the Macy’s department store at Sunrise Mall through a storefront window while customers were inside but did not hit anyone, according to a police news release.
Responding officers saw the gunman, whose name has not been released by the coroner’s office, refusing to cooperate and running eastbound on Greenback Lane, according to the release.
The K-9 was released by officers and made contact with the shooter, who fired at least twice at the dog’s head at point-blank range, leading police to believe he had been shot, according to the release.
Officers returned fire and shot and killed the man. When the dog returned to his handler, his face was covered in blood, He was rushed to a veterinary hospital, according to the release.
Veterinarians who cleaned the dog’s face and head found he had not been shot, and the blood was later identified as the shooter’s, according to the release.
“Officers on scene are attributing the K-9’s actions with saving their lives,” Citrus Heights police said in the news release. “This incident occurred in a heavily populated area. We believe an active shooter type event was avoided due to the K-9’s actions and the heroic actions of our officers.”