NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A North Richland Hills police dog is recovering from his injuries after being shot Monday evening during a chase.
Police in Watauga responded to a call from a family member about a suicidal man with a gun at around 7:15 p.m. As police responded, the man ran from police and led them on a chase.
The chase ended in North Richland Hills near Caracas Drive and Trinidad Drive after the man left his vehicle. Police said just before 9 p.m., the man fired his weapon at officers, which led them to return fire.
During the incident, K-9 Koba of the North Richland Hills Police Department was hit by gunfire. There has been no confirmation yet if K-9 Koba was struck by gunfire from the suspect or the officers.
K-9 Koba was taken to a hospital where he went through surgery. In an update at 7:45 a.m., NRH police said he had successful surgery and is recovering.
The suspect was identified Tuesday afternoon as Jamie Ramirez, 47.
He was taken to a hospital for surgery. He is in stable condition, according to police. He faces a charge of aggravated assault on a peace officer.
A neighbor up the road says heard the exchange and believes five or six shots were fired.
“And my wife had called 911 at that point. And they told her everything was under control,” David Gabrielson said.
But the K-9 was hit. The part Dutch shepherd and part Belgian Malinois was rushed to a veterinarian for emergency surgery.
Sergeant Melissa Andrews said, “Everyone was very concerned. So as soon as we heard that he was alive. He was still with us. He was going to make it out of surgery, we were extremely relieved at that point.”
Police are still investigating whose bullet hit Koba. But they do believe the vest the k-9 was wearing may have saved his life.
“Did Koba say anything when he got out of the surgery? He probably said, ‘let’s go play ball,’” Andrews said.
Police are not ruling out a return to service for the dog.
As for Ramirez, the suspect, he was also shot and is in the hospital recovering. He has been charged with aggravated assault on a peace officer with a deadly weapon.
The police department also tweeted, “Our community is wondering how they can help and where to send cards for our handler and Koba. Please send condolences to ATTN: K9 Officer Koba, 4301 City Point Dr., N. Richland Hills, TX 76180”
Southlake DPS tweeted their support saying, “Our friend K-9 Koba of the North Richland Hills PD (@NRHPD) is recovering from surgery after being struck by a bullet last night. Our K-9 Duco (& the entire Southlake Police & Fire Departments) wanted to send warm wishes for a speedy recovery. Get well soon, friend.