Fullerton PD K9 Rotar suffered minor injuries early Wednesday morning after a man brandishing a weapon stabbed him, prompting an officer to shoot the suspect, whose wounds were non-life threatening, police said.
Rotar is expected to be back at work in a week after he was treated at Yorba Regional Animal Hospital, FPD Sgt. Kathryn Hamel said.
The suspect, Jimmy Lastra, 42, of Artesia, faces several charges related to the Jan. 6 incident and also has an outstanding warrant for his arrest for assault and battery, the Fullerton PD said in a news release.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is investigating the officer-involved shooting, which unfolded at 1 a.m. when Fullerton PD officers were dispatched to a call of a male brandishing a weapon in the 1100 block of East Chapman Avenue.
A veteran police officer detained a male matching the description who was armed with a knife, according to the news release.
Officers ordered the suspect, later identified as Lastra, to drop his knife multiple times but he repeatedly refused to do so, according to the news release.
FPD officers then used non-lethal sponge rounds to disarm Lastra but he still refused to comply with commands to drop his knife, the news release said.
K9 Rotar was deployed in an attempt to take Lastra into custody, but Lastra turned his knife on the dog, prompting an officer to shoot Lastra, who then was transported to a local hospital.
Rotar is one of the FPD’s three K9s. The other two are Jax and Mueller.
“He’ll be fine,” Hamel said of Rotar, who has been an FPD K9 for about three years.
Rotar, a Belgian Malinois, is 3 1/2 years old.
Click here to view a Behind the Badge OC video on K9s that includes Rotar.
The Fullerton Police Department is encouraging anyone with information on this shooting to contact the FPD at 714-738-6800. Those wishing to provide information anonymously can call Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1(855) TIP-OCCS or go to www.occrimestoppers.org.