Sheriff’s K-9 shot during pursuit of robbery suspects

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Latest: Deputies share update on police K-9 shot in leg during pursuit

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Three armed suspects who allegedly robbed a Lakeside convenience store and shot a sheriff’s K-9 were apprehended in Riverside County, a San Diego County Sheriff’s Department spokesman said Monday.

At 11:52 p.m. Sunday, a sheriff’s deputy saw a suspect running out of a 7-Eleven at 10205 Lake Jennings Park Road in Lakeside. A witness told the deputy that the suspect “just robbed the store,” said Lt. Mike Arens of the SDSD.

The deputy attempted to make a traffic stop, but the suspect drove away, Arens said. The deputy pursued the suspect onto westbound Interstate 8, and called the California Highway Patrol to assist. Three suspects were in the BMW being pursued by the agencies, which transitioned onto northbound Interstate 15, the sheriff’s department confirmed.

They later were identified by Officer Mike Lassig with CHP Temecula as:

  • Alexander Juan Portilla, 18, of Santee;
  • Angel Quinonez, 19, of Lemon Grove; and
  • Killian Samuel Tompkins, 21, of San Diego.

The Murrieta Police Department said in a press release Monday that they were made aware of the incident when the car entered their jurisdiction, merging onto northbound I-215 and eventually exiting onto Los Alamos Road.

According to Murrieta police, the car became disabled on Murrieta Gateway at Los Alamos Road near the Shell gas station at 39614 Los Alamos Road, where the three suspects exited the car and ran into a nearby shopping center.

Murrieta police stated the armed suspects attempted to carjack a passing car when a deputy from SDSD released their police K-9, which was struck by a bullet from one suspect’s gun. Arens said the dog, named Cezar, was taken to a nearby veterinarian and “is expected to make a full recovery.”

San Diego County Sheriff’s Department gave an update on Cezar’s surgery, saying they successfully removed bullet fragments from the dog’s leg. Cezar is credited for “valiantly protecting” his handler Deputy Avedesian.

The suspect who fired at the K-9 and a second suspect were quickly apprehended and taken into custody, Murrieta police said. A third suspect ran further into the shopping center, but was eventually caught hiding in the bushes a short distance away.

All three suspects were booked at Cois Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta. They are facing charges including attempted murder of a police officer, assault with a firearm, felony evading and resisting arrest.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and the CHP are investigating the incident.

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