San Diego police fatally shoot man at Mesa College; K9 killed by suspect: SDSO

No officers were injured in the shooting; police said there is no threat to the public

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San Diego police killed a shooting suspect after he refused to obey officers' commands and fired a round, killing a police K9 unit, according to the San Diego Sheriff's Department.

Officers received a 911 call around 1:30 a.m. of a shooting at the 5300 block of Ben Street in the Clairemont neighborhood. The suspect was reported to have shot at a victim several times on a roadway and drove off in a white Tesla, but the victim was not struck by gunfire, San Diego County Sheriff's Department Lt. Joseph Jarjura said.

A sheriff's department investigator said the victim gave police part of the Tesla's license plate number, which helped SDPD's helicopter locate the car and suspect.

After San Diego Police attempted to stop the suspect, he fled, driving to the Mesa College campus, leaving his car behind once he arrived. Officers then found the suspect and saw he still had a handgun, according to Jarjura. The suspect was given commands to drop the gun but did not comply. A K9 handler released the dog and the suspect fired one shot, prompting one officer to fire their weapon, police said.

Asked for specifics regarding the timing of the incident, police said they did not know if the suspect shot and killed the K9 first and was shot by the officer, or if the events happened simultaneously.

The K9, a 4 ½-year-old Belgian Malinois named Sir, was shot during the exchange and was taken to a veterinary clinic where he died. The man was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, officers said.

It is not known what prompted the suspect to shoot at another person.

"We are still trying to figure it out, but we believe that it started on the roadways. One vehicle, possibly trying to pass the other vehicle or some type of incident," Lt. Jarjura said.

SDSO is not classifying this incident as road rage but said it seems to have initiated on the roadway where the suspect followed the victim into a residential neighborhood.

"I checked on my kids and then I came outside and it was surrounded by cops," said neighbor Rachelle Barbell.

San Diego Police later tweeted out saying this marks the second loss of a police canine in the line of duty. Police said Sir joined the ranks in March 2022 and was a "beloved member of our department and community," SDPD said.

Per countywide protocol for police shootings, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department is investigating the shooting.

SDPD told NBC 7 that parts of Mesa College will be blocked off for several hours as the investigation continues because there are several crime scenes on campus.

Mesa College sent out a statement saying in part that all work, classes, services and activities are expected to continue as normal.

A police investigation is currently underway and lots 1, 2 and 3 will be closed until further notice, as will Mesa College Circle near the athletics fields. College Police will be directing people to park in other locations and parking enforcement will be suspended today. The lower campus will accessible via the Genesee Avenue/Marlesta Drive entrance.

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