On Tuesday, a suspected auto thief in San Diego was taken down by a police dog, avoiding any lethal confrontation between the suspect and police.
A woman notified police that her cousin had stolen her Nissan Altima, prompting a chase from the Stockton area to Mount Hope after 5 p.m. The suspect raced over city streets before a tire blew out from running a spike strip that officers placed in his way. The suspect traveled along Interstate 5 to state Route 15 in Southcrest before losing control of his vehicle entering state Route 94, where the car wound up in the dirt on the side of the road, according to Officer Dino Delimitros.
Police cars surrounded the stolen vehicle, whereupon one officer from the K-9 unit quickly approached the car and lifted his dog through the passenger side window, as waiting officers had their guns drawn. The dog took a bite from the suspect, who was quickly arrested at roughly 5:20 p.m., according to ABC 10 San Diego.
The driver was taken to Alvarado Hospital Medical Center for the dog bite. One officer commented, “You could see lethal force deployed all around him. Absent that dog, all that’s left is a potential lethal stand-off.”
According to CBS News 8 Chopper reporter and retired CHP officer Phil Konstantin, a pit maneuver could have been used, but the area in which the suspect was caught was too close to passing traffic and families in their yards.
Commander Glen Revell of the San Diego Sheriff’s Department told ABC 10 San Diego that the K-9 officer was correct in hoisting the dog into the stolen car, saying, “I think what he probably hoped, when he put him up there is that the dog would go right through the window because they’re trained to do that in their own car. That is their partner; they’re truly attached but he’s not a pet; he’s a tool.” He added, “With the dog, you see the outcome is, ‘We’re probably headed to the hospital, we’re going to have to have some wounds cleaned, he’s going to heal. We’ll see you in court.’”
The San Diego Police Foundation states, “The Canine Unit is called in instances when either a dangerous call is in progress, such as a burglary, robbery, or vehicle pursuit.”