Police Shoot, Kill Man in West Covina After Finding Body of Fatal Shooting Victim; K-9 Wounded

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West Covina police shot and killed a gunman who opened fire on them and wounded a K-9 on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, officials said. (Credit: KTLA/West Covina Police Department)

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Police shot and killed a man in West Covina late Sunday night after he allegedly opened fire on them and wounded a K-9, authorities said. The incident occurred less than an hour after officers found the body of another man who had been fatally shot in a nearby "related" incident.

A K-9 named Reiko was covering on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, after being shot by a gunman in West Covina, police said. Officers shot and killed the suspect, officials said. (Credit: KTLA)
A K-9 named Reiko was covering on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, after being shot by a gunman in West Covina, police said. Officers shot and killed the suspect, according to officials. (Credit: KTLA)

Officers responded about 11 p.m. to a call of shots fired in the 1400 block of East Badillo Street (map), where they discovered the body of a shooting victim on the front lawn of the Church of the Nazarene, said Lt. Rudy Lopez of the West Covina Police Department.

About 25 minutes later, police went to the 1500 block of East Elgenia Avenue (map), less than a mile from the initial scene. There they encountered a man who opened fire, hitting a police dog in the torso area, Police Department said. The suspect was struck when the officers returned fire, Lopez said.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene, and a handgun was recovered, according to the lieutenant. Neither of the deceased men were immediately identified.

No police personnel were injured in the incident.

The K-9, a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois named Reiko, was initially transported to TLC Pet Medical Center in South Pasadena where his condition was stabilized, officials said. The dog was then taken to the Animal Specialty Group hospital in Los Angeles and on Monday morning underwent surgery to remove a bullet fragment from underneath his skin.

Police shot and killed a man after he allegedly opened fire on them and wounded a K-9 on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. (Credit: KTLA)
Police shot and killed a man after he allegedly opened fire on them and wounded a K-9 on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. (Credit: KTLA)

The bullet had entered above Reiko's front left shoulder, "then traversed across the neck" before striking a small bone above his spine and fragmenting near his microchip, said Dr. Stephen Bilbrey, a veterinarian who participated in the operation. The larger piece of the bullet was turned over to police investigators after being extricated, while smaller "unimportant" fragments were left in place.

Following the surgery, the dog was in stable condition and able to walk, though he was limping, Bilbrey said.

"He didn't sustain any life-threatening injuries," the surgeon said, adding that if the K-9's spinal cord had been struck "we would've had a much different outcome."

Reiko was expected to be released from the animal hospital after two days, and should be able to return to duty within a few weeks to a month, according to Bilbrey.

"He's a really, really lucky dog," he said.

Reiko, a K-9 that officials said was shot and wounded by a suspect on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, is seen in a photo provided by the West Covina police Department.
Reiko, a K-9 that officials said was shot and wounded by a suspect on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, is seen in a photo provided by the West Covina police Department.

Reiko has been a member of the West Covina police force since December 2013, according to a statement on the department's Facebook page.

After receiving phone calls from citizens interested in donating to the dog's care, authorities said contributions may be made to the nonprofit group Friends of West Covina Police K-9s.

Donations can be delivered in person or by mail to the West Covina Police Department, 1444 West Garvey Avenue, West Covina, CA, 91790, Attention: Lt. Pat Benschop.

Checks should be payable to "Friends of the West Covina Police K-9s," the statement said.

An investigation into both shootings is ongoing.

In accordance with protocol, the second incident was being investigated by the Los Angeles County district attorney's office and the sheriff's Homicide and Internal Affairs bureaus.

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