Officers were attempting to serve an arrest warrant charging the man with felonious assault, but when they arrived at his home on West 20th Street, he ran and hid in the basement. That’s when police send in a Lorain Police K-9 named Rye.
Chief James McCann told FOX 8, “the canine is used when the situation is so dangerous, that it enhances the safety of officers, so a canine would be sent in to help apprehend, identify or locate a suspect that is dangerous or possesses weapons.”
Investigators say when the German shepherd cornered the man in the basement of the home, the suspect pulled out a knife and began stabbing the dog. Officers moved in to try and save their canine partner, and whatever happened next prompted the officers to shoot the suspect.
“It sounds like maybe the suspect may have made a threat towards the officers as well, which would have caused that also,” said Elyria Police Chief William Pelko, who is heading the investigation of the shooting.
Investigators say the suspect was pronounced dead at the scene. Meanwhile, the police dog was rushed to a veterinary hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery. Longtime residents in the West 20th-Oberlin Avenue neighborhood feel the suspect sealed his own fate when he attacked the police canine.
“That’s a police dog, we all know that, I’m 39 years old and I knew that when I was little, the dog is a police officer,” said Bruce Mathews. “I wish they could have maybe tased him but you know when a person reaches for a knife, you’re going to grab whatever you can, so they shot him, you know we’ve got to protect our officers.”
Lorain Police asked Elyria Police to investigate the shooting.
“We’re interviewing witnesses, we’re interviewing the officers about what happened, we’ll canvass the neighborhood, interview them, Lorain Police Department does have body cameras so we’ll review that footage,” said Chief Pelko.
The three officers involved in the incident have been placed on paid administrative leave. The name of the man who was killed has not been released. Investigators say it appears the police dog will survive.