Tulare, CA – Tulare Police Department K9 Bane died in the line of duty on Sunday night, when a trio of suspects exchanged gunfire with police after a high-speed chase through the county.
K9 Bane’s partner was shot in the arm and torso, but his ballistic vest likely saved his life, the Visalia Times Delta reported.
It was the duo’s first weekend working the streets together.
One suspect was killed during the shootout, another was “gravely” injured, and a third was arrested, police said.
“Tonight we had a very serious incident happen to some of our officers,” the Tulare Police Department said in a Facebook post. “It is not lost on us the seriousness of this matter that a human being lost their life tonight and another is fighting for theirs.”
“We are thankful that our officer’s physical injuries do not appear life threatening,” the department said. “We are grateful for our four-legged hero, Bane, and his selfless sacrifice.”
The tragic incident began at approximately 7 p.m., when Tulare police attempted to stop a vehicle with three occupants, the Visalia Times Delta reported.
The driver refused to pull over, and led officers on a pursuit through the county at speeds topping 100 miles per hour.
The late-model sedan ultimately pulled onto a rural road, at which point a “gun battle” ensued, Tulare Police Sergeant Jon Hamlin told the Visalia Times Delta.
During the exchange, K9 Bane and his partner were both struck by gunfire.
K9 Bane died at the scene, and his partner was rushed to the hospital with gunshot wounds to his arm and chest, Sgt. Hamlin said.
One suspect was fatally shot, and a second suspect was transported to Kaweah Delta Medical Center with “life-threatening” bullet wounds.
The second suspect was taken into surgery.
The third suspect, who had been driving the sedan, took off again during the gunfight.
He soon came upon a police barricade, and was ordered out of the vehicle and taken into custody.
He was uninjured.
The Tulare County Sheriff’s Department is handling the ongoing investigation, which includes multiple crime scenes, police said.
At approximately 1 a.m. on Monday, Tulare police escorted K9 Bane’s body to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, the Visalia Times Delta reported.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Tulare Police Department in the loss of K9 Bane.
Rest easy, hero. Your life mattered.