Citrus Heights Police Officer Involved In Shooting

Citrus Heights, CA (MPG)  |  By David Gutierrez, Citrus Heights Police Department
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Axel, the K9 hero. Photo courtesy of Citrus Heights Police Department

Citrus Heights Police Department Press Release

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - This updated information is based on our ongoing investigation related to the events surrounding the officer involved shooting. The investigation continues to evolve as investigators interview witnesses, and review physical and electronic evidence. Our understanding of the facts and circumstances may change as additional evidence is collected and analyzed.

As reported, our officers responded to the report of a male subject who was believed to have fired a handgun in the vicinity of Sunrise Boulevard and Arcadia Drive.

We now know that the suspect fired a bullet through a storefront window of the Macy’s store located on the north side of the building. The store was occupied with customers at the time of the shooting. Thankfully, no one was injured as a result of the suspect’s actions.

As officers were responding to the scene with lights and sirens, they observed the described subject running east along Greenback Lane in front of the Brake Masters, towards the Burger King. The officers attempted to make contact with the subject, but he was uncooperative and continued to run. One of the first officers on scene was a police K9 unit. The canine handler released his police K9 in an attempt to safely apprehend the reportedly armed subject. As the K9 was running towards the suspect, the suspect turned towards the K9 and the officers while still running, and fired a shot in their direction. The K9 continued to pursue the suspect and eventually engaged him.

Officers observed the suspect fire at least two rounds towards the K9’s head at point blank range and then fire towards them. Officers returned gunfire at the suspect, striking him. When the police K9 came back to his handler, his face had a significant amount of blood on it. Based on what was witnessed, the officers believed the K9 had been shot. The K9 handler rushed the K9 to a vet hospital. Upon the vet cleaning the K9’s face and head, it was learned the K9 had amazingly not sustained a gunshot injury. The blood on the K9’s head was determined to be from the suspect.

Officers on scene are attributing the K9’s actions with saving their lives. (See picture of Hero K9 Axel below)

This incident occurred in a heavily populated area. We believe an active shooter type event was avoided due to the K9’s actions and the heroic actions of our officers.

At this time, we will not be releasing the identity of the suspect or any evidentiary video footage.

Previous Media Release:

By Chad Morris, Citrus Heights Police Department Press Release

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) – On July 9, 2019, at approximately 7:25 PM, Citrus Heights Police dispatchers received a citizen call regarding a male who was believed to have fired a handgun in the vicinity of Sunrise Blvd and Arcadia Drive. Officers arrived on scene at approximately 7:32 PM and quickly located the male subject who began firing a handgun at the responding officers.

The suspect fired his handgun at the responding officers and nearly struck one of the officers in the area of his upper-body. Fortunately, the bullet passed through the officer’s uniform shirt, and miraculously the officer was uninjured. The officer’s K9 partner appeared to have sustained a gunshot wound to his face. Officers immediately returned fire with at least one officer striking the suspect. Fire personnel were summoned, responded quickly, and pronounced the suspect deceased at the scene.

During the shooting, a passerby's windshield was struck by a bullet. The occupant of the vehicle is believed to have sustained minor abrasions as a result of broken glass and was transported to an area hospital for a precautionary medical examination. The officer and his K9 partner were transported to area hospitals, and we feel extremely fortunate to report that they are both expected to make a full recovery.

Currently, CHPD is in the beginning stages of this officer-involved shooting investigation. The areas around the location will remain closed throughout the duration of the investigation. The officers involved with the shooting will be placed on paid administrative leave which is standard policy during these incidents.