SACRAMENTO - A Sheriff's Department K9 was shot while pursuing a suspected car thief in a field near Elverta Road Friday morning.
According to Sergeant Lisa Bowman of the Sacramento County Sheriff's Dept., the incident began when a Natomas resident heard some noise near their home and looked outside to see their car had been stolen.
Officers were called and located the vehicle around 4:11 a.m. when a pursuit began.
As the chase progressed along 16th Street about two miles north of Elverta, the driver abandoned the vehicle and fled into a field, said Bowman.
Assisting deputies released K9 officer Drago who pursued the individual into the field. At some point during the chase, the suspect fired eight rounds, hitting Drago in the chest, Bowman said.
The bullet passed through Drago's chest and exited out his shoulder without striking any vital organs. Drago was taken to a nearby emergency vet where he was treated for the non-life threatening wound. He is expected to recover.
UPDATE: Wounded K9 officer released from veterinary hospital
Additional police officers, deputies, SWAT officers and a helicopter were called in to help search for the suspected shooter.
The individual was located via a heat recognition sensor on the helicopter and authorities approached. While moving in to apprehend the man, officers noticed the man had suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, said Bowman.
The man was transported to a nearby hospital, where he later died.
Bowman said the suspect's name is being withheld until next of kin is notified.