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San Diego police dog killed, suspect shot in confrontation at Mesa College

K9 Sir. He was tragically killed in the line of duty early this morning in the Mesa College area. (San Diego Police Department/Facebook)

A confrontation in a parking lot at Mesa College early Wednesday led to a police dog being killed and an armed man being shot by San Diego police, officials said.

Few details were immediately available about the incident, including the condition of the man who was shot.

Police said the incident began shortly before 1:30 a.m. when someone reported “some sort of shooting-type incident,” said San Diego police spokesperson Adam Sharki. The location of the shooting wasn’t immediately released. Sharki said officers confronted the suspect on the community college campus in the Clairemont neighborhood.

“Officers responded to a radio call involving some sort of shooting-type incident,” Sharki said. “(During) the course of that investigation, officers had a confrontation with a suspect which led to an officer-involved shooting.”

Sharki said police were investigating several different scenes.

The initial call was about a road rage-type incident, according to police Officer David O’Brien.

The suspect left his car on a center divider on Mesa College Circle near Parking Lot 1. Fox 5 San Diego showed a white Tesla with its trunk open and lights flashing behind police crime scene tape at the campus.

According to scanner traffic, the suspect was reportedly “pretty animated” and “not listening to our commands” as officers confronted him at gunpoint.

According to radio calls, he was seen holding something in one of his hands that officers thought might have been a cellphone. Officers later reported the man appeared to be holding a gun, according to scanner traffic.

At one point, a police dog was sent after the suspect. Then, shortly after 2:35 a.m., someone on the radio reported “shots fired” and said the dog had been hit.

The San Diego Police Officers Association confirmed on Twitter that the dog was killed in the shooting.

“A violent shooting suspect killed one of our K-9 dogs this morning. Our dog saved the lives of the officers and citizens in the area. RIP. The suspect is no longer a threat and the officers and innocent victims of the shooting are uninjured.”

A police helicopter that had been assisting officers at the college left the scene because of low clouds. The helicopter quickly returned after reports of shots being fired, and the crew reported seeing the man lying on the ground.

A police dog — believed to be a second one deployed — was seen biting him, according to scanner traffic.

O’Brien said police received information from multiple callers about the incident.

County sheriff’s homicide investigators are handling the investigation into the shooting under a countywide protocol that calls for sheriff’s to investigate shootings involving SDPD officers. No other details were immediately released.

Mesa College officials said school would proceed as normal although several parking lots were closed early Wednesday.

“The campus is secure and people should report to work as usual,” San Diego Mesa College president Ashanti Hands said in an email posted on Twitter. “A police investigation is currently underway and lots 1, 2 and 3 will be closed until further notice, as will Mesa College Circle near the athletic fields.”

Parking enforcement will be suspended for the day, Hands said.


© 2023 The San Diego Union-Tribune

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