ANAHEIM (CBSLA.com) — Authorities Friday continued searching for a second suspect following a deadly officer-involved shooting that also injured a beloved police dog.
Bruno, a 7-year-old sable German Shepherd and six-year veteran of the Anaheim Police Department, is recovering after emergency surgery to remove a bullet from his lung.
The dog was injured Thursday when two Anaheim police officers arrived at the intersection of La Palma and Mayfair avenues at approximately 2 p.m. for a parole check.
Police say a man began shooting at the officers from inside a vehicle and another took off running.
The officers were not hit and put in a call to Anaheim police, who responded to the scene and set up a perimeter. A SWAT team and K9 unit were called in to aid in the search for the suspect.
Authorities say Bruno guided his handler, Officer RJ Young, to the suspect, who fired shots, striking the dog in the jaw. Officers returned fire, fatally shooting the suspect, who was identified as 21-year-old Robert Moreno Jr.
Moreno, a known gang member, was released from jail 10 days ago after serving time for auto theft, according to authorities.
“The dog alerted that the suspect was hiding behind a trash can. As they went up, the suspect stood up and started shooting at the direction of the officers and purposely aimed at the dog, shooting the dog,” Anaheim Police Lt. Tim Schmidt said.
Bruno was critically wounded after a bullet entered through his lung and became lodged in his chest, requiring surgeons to remove part of his damaged lung and repair his shattered jaw.
He came out of surgery at Yorba Linda Regional Animal Hospital at approximately 9:15 p.m. Thursday and was expected to survive.
“He’s doing extremely well for all he’s been through,” Dr. Steve Dunbar, a veterinarian, told CBS2’s Michele Gile. “The bullet passed one of his bones and went down through his chest and punctured his lungs on one side.”
CBS2’s Kara Finnstrom reports he will have to wear a cast around his jaw and be fed through a feeding tube for the next two months.
“We’re just lucky that the damage that was done narrowly missed the vital organs that would have caused a fatal injury,” said Officer Brett Klevos of the Anaheim Police Department, K9 Unit.
Several officers held vigil at the facility Thursday night.
Anaheim Police K9 Association President Cheryl Timmons said she has known Bruno since he was a puppy, and officer Young couldn’t be more close to his K9.
“They have one of the tightest relationships you could ever imagine. This is going to be a really rough one for RJ,” she said.
Bruno goes home with Young every day and is said to constantly be at the side of his daughter, who was born three months ago.
He is the most senior police dog, according to the City of Anaheim. It remains unclear if he will return to duty or will retire.
Police, meanwhile, say one suspect remains at large. He is described as a Hispanic male, approximately 20 years old, and was wearing all black at the time of the incident.
Friday evening, KCAL9’s Stacey Butler said Bruno was rebounding.
The dog was critical but stable, she reported and “seemed to be in good spirits.”
She spoke to Anaheim Police Officer Brett Klevos, who, along with his K-9 partner Guenther, went to visit Bruno .”He’s got a little bit of life in his eyes.”
“The prognosis is still guarded at this point but he’s doing exceptionally well for all he’s been though,” said Dr. Steve Dunbar.
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