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BAKERSFIELD — A vehicle theft suspect fatally shot a K-9 dog in southeast Bakersfield and then was killed by return fire from officers, police said.

The shooting occurred Tuesday night when officers attempted to stop a reported stolen vehicle on Highway 58, the Bakersfield Police Department said in a statement.

The vehicle went off the road, up an embankment, through a chain-link fence and became disabled.

The driver fled on foot but, with the help of a Kern County sheriff’s helicopter, was spotted at the rear of a residence.

Identity of Suspect and Body Cam Footage to Be Released

“As a police K-9 Handler and his K-9 partner approached the suspect, the suspect opened fire, striking the K-9. Two officers returned fire, striking the suspect,” the statement said.

The department said a firearm was recovered from the suspect, who was given medical aid but died at the scene. Police said his identity would be released by the county coroner’s office.

Police noted that the two officers who fired their weapons were equipped with body-worn cameras. Footage will be released “as the investigation allows it,” the statement said.

The police dog, named Jango, was declared dead at an emergency veterinary hospital. He was a Belgian Malinois born in the Netherlands on Nov. 15, 2015, and assigned to his handler in March 2017.

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