Orange County, CA – A man who was wanted for assaulting a police officer was taken down by a soaring K9 officer on Monday evening, after the suspect violently carjacked a woman’s vehicle and led police on a pursuit (video below).
Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) K9 Puskas, an 8-year-old Dutch shepherd, lost every tooth except his canines during the apprehension, SAPD Corporal Anthony Bertagna told KNBC.
The takedown was captured in video footage taken by a WVTM helicopter as it flew overhead.
The suspect, 37-year-old Antonio Padilla Jr., was wanted for a Feb. 18 assault with a deadly weapon on an officer, after he attempted to run over an officer during a traffic stop, the Orange County Register reported.
“The motor officer was writing Padilla a traffic citation and Padilla recklessly backed his truck up, almost striking the officer,” Garden Grove Police Department (GGPD) Lieutenant Carl Whitney told the Orange County Register. “The officer narrowly missed being run over.”
Padilla, who was also wanted for a parole violation, fled the scene.
GGPD detectives spotted Padilla’s 2016 GMC Sierra pickup truck in Santa Ana at approximately 5:50 p.m. on Monday, while they were searching for him in unmarked units. They requested assistance from the Santa Ana Police Department, who attempted to pull Padilla over.
Padilla refused to stop, and officers pursued him both by car and by air as he sped through red lights and crashed into at least two other vehicles, KING reported.
According to the Orange County Register, he attempted to ram a police vehicle before bailing out of his pickup in Irvine.
The helicopter footage showed Padilla as he charged up to a black Audi SUV, and violently ripped the female driver from the vehicle.
According to the Irvine Police Department (IPD), the woman’s brother witnessed the carjacking, and jumped out of his own vehicle in an attempt to stop Padilla, as the woman tried to reenter her vehicle from the passenger side.
Padilla edged forward, nearly pinning the woman’s brother between the Audi and the discarded pickup truck, before he backed up again and launched the woman’s vehicle over a curb.
The pursuit resumed, until Padilla finally drove onto a sidewalk and crashed at approximately 6 p.m. He then took off on foot, quickly creating a gap between himself and the officers.
But as he sprinted towards a business complex, K9 Puskas zoomed in behind him, and soared through the air as he latched onto Padilla.
The suspect immediately fell to the ground and began flailing, but the K9 Puskas wasn’t about to release its grip. Still on the ground, Padilla briefly fought with officers before he was taken into custody.
Padilla left what appeared to be a puddle of blood on the cement, and was taken to a hospital for treatment of his injuries, the Orange County Register reported.
K9 Puskas underwent dental surgery after all of his upper and lower teeth – with the exception of his canines – were ripped from his mouth during the apprehension, Cpl. Bertagna told KNBC.
Police believe his face collided with the cement as he pulled Padilla to the ground, according to the Orange County Register.
K9 Puskas is now recovering, and he is expected to return to work again after a few well-deserved weeks off, Cpl. Bertagna said.
Padilla faces “numerous felonies,” including assault with a deadly weapon and carjacking, Lt. Whitney said, according to the Orange County Register.
You can watch K9 Puskas in action in the video below: