TPD dog and suspected carjacker killed in midtown
Reporter: Valerie Cavazos
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A police dog is killed in the line of duty trying to help officers nab an armed carjacker.
A 9-1-1 call of a carjacking from a Dominoes Pizza on Speedway sent police searching for the 51-year-old suspected carjacker. The victim told the 911 dispatcher that the man took his wallet and vehicle at gunpoint. Police said they spotted the stolen car near 5th and Alvernon , but the carjacker fled -- tearing through neighborhoods with officer in pursuit.
TPD Chief of Police told KGUN9 Robert Villasenor that the suspected carjacker "was still driving erractically .. very dangerously ... blowing stop signs."
Fred Haskell said the carjacker crashed into his wroght iron fence in front of his home on Treat Street. "It was very scary. He could have come at this speed. This is all set in cement. He could have come right in the living room and that's where my mother is sleeping."
The high speed chase ended in an alley north of 2nd street near Stewart after the man fled on foot. Within minutes he emerged from the front porch of a home.
Jake Glazer lives across the street. "I saw these sirens going outside the window and my roommate said, Dude, lock the door." And right when he said that we heard gunshots.
Minutes before police say the carjacker pulled out a large caliber revolver. "He had it down at his side and then he brings the gun up and points it at his head. We released the canine to try to gain custody of him," said Villasenor.
The dog, Ivan, bit the mans arm. "It that point he brings the gun down and shoot ivan directly into the body. Ivan falls away and he then turns into the officers bringing the gun up in their direction."
That's when the officers fire shots -- hitting him several times. Villasenor said, "There were numerous commands given to him before and during the incident to drop the weapon and surrender to allow us to take him in custody. He wasn't listening. The officers were put in the position. They really had no choice. They had to end the threat this individual was posing to them and the community."
The suspect died at the scene. The police dog, Ivan, was rushed to an animal hospital where he later died.
Villasenor said they do know the name of the carjacker, but are not releasing it at this time. They said he he had run ins with law enforcement.
An internal investigation is continuing, which is standard procedure in an officer-involved shooting tto determine whether department policies were followed, and if current training, equipment, supervision, and policies are adequate and appropriate.
The TPD canine was new on the force. Ivan was three years old and had only been on the streets for 6 months. Officer Chris Fenoglio told Villasenor that the biggest concern now was how he was going to break the news that Ivan died to his children.
The Tucson Police Foundation has generously established a mechanism by which donations can be made to provide assistance to the Tucson Police Department K-9 Unit. Tucson Police Foundation website (www.tucsonpolicefoundation.org).
A direct link to the donation page can be found at: https://www.tucsonpolicefoundation.org/?page_id=28 . Once there, select the amount of the donation and then select from the drop down menu "Service Dog Unit K9.” Proceed to the checkout for entering credit card information. A receipt for the donation will be emailed once it is submitted and received.