A man carried out a home-invasion robbery in Riverside, then attacked and seriously injured a female police officer before being tracked down with the help of a bloodhound early Sunday, authorities said.
Roberto Lopez, a 20-year-old transient known to frequent the Riverside area, was booked on suspicion of home-invasion robbery and assault on a peace officer likely to produce great bodily injury, Riverside Police Department Officer Ryan Railsback said.
Police first responded just after 3 a.m. to what was initially reported as a burglary in-progress in the 5900 block of Grand Avenue, police said in a written statement. “It was later determined to have been a home-invasion robbery that took place.”
A woman in her 50s was home alone when she discovered Lopez in a bedroom, helping himself to valuables, Railsback said. The suspect pushed the woman and fled.
A female officer arrived first at the scene and encountered Lopez in front of the victim’s home, according to Railsback. As the officer was patting him down, he attacked.
Lopez struck the officer, knocking her to the ground, then began kicking her, including kicks to the face, Railsback said.
The officer managed to put out a call for help over the radio, he said. The officer was dazed, but standing, when fellow officers arrived. She was treated for injuries that possibly included facial fractures and had been released from the hospital by Sunday afternoon.
Police set up a search perimeter to look for the suspect. Lopez dropped his hooded sweatshirt as he ran, which a Riverside County Sheriff’s Department bloodhound named “Raven” was able to use to track his scent, Railsback said.
The bloodhound tracked Lopez down in an area of dense, waist-high brush in the Santa Ana Riverbed, police said. From there, officers were able to chase him down and apprehend him.
Bail for Lopez was set at $150,000 pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Wednesday in Riverside County Superior Court, county booking records show.