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San Joaquin County Sheriff K9 killed in the line of duty

The suspect who K9 Duke was attempting to detain is now in custody, officials said.

STOCKTON, Calif. — A San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office K9 was killed in the line of duty Sunday, a spokesperson for the office said.

Sheriff Pat Withrow said deputies were responding a call from Tracy Police Department regarding a burglary suspect and K9 Duke was ultimately killed trying to apprehend him.

Withrow said the dog was searching the cab of a train looking for the suspect when he alerted deputies to a small door inside. Deputies let the suspect know they were there, but the suspect refused to come out. 

Withrow said multiple warnings were given before deputies tried to open the door, which proved to be barricaded from the inside. Deputies were able to get the door open enough for K9 Duke to get inside, but after the K9 handler gave commands for the suspect to give himself up, he heard his dog scream and called him back.

Another deputy used a taser to put the suspect down and take him into custody, according to Withrow. However, he said K9 Duke was stabbed and bleeding profusely. The dog was taken to a vet, but ultimately died.

K9 Duke had been with the sheriff's office for six years.

"Without the courageous actions of K9 Duke and the ability to deploy on a barricaded suspect who was given the ability to surrender, it could have easily been the life of a deputy that was lost today," the sheriff's office said in a Facebook post. "We wish it wasn’t a life taken at all."

Withrow said the suspect is in the hospital and will be charged with murdering a police dog in the line of duty.

Our hearts are heavy as we share that one of our own, San Joaquin County Sheriff's K9, Duke, was killed in the line of...

Posted by San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office on Sunday, February 19, 2023

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