San Diego police hold memorial for fallen police dog, Sir

The 4½-year-old Belgian Malinois named Sir was shot and killed Aug. 2 while trying to catch a felony shooting suspect

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The fallen K9’s name was Sir.

On Thursday, law enforcement held a memorial for him, which was closed to the public and the media, and featured a series of speakers along that included Mayor Todd Gloria and San Diego police Chief David Nisleit, all paying their respects to Sir and his handler, Kyle.

Sir joined the ranks last March. His death was the second police K9 lost in the line of duty since 1994, according to San Diego police.

Officers received a 911 call early in the morning on Aug. 2 about a shooting in Clairemont. The suspect was reported to have shot at a driver in a car several times on a roadway and then drove off in a white Tesla. That same evening a police helicopter located the car and shooting suspect. When police tried to stop him, he drove off to the Mesa College campus and then left his car behind. When officers found the suspect, they saw he still had a handgun.

The man refused officers' commands to drop the gun, so a K9 handler released Sir and the suspect fired one shot, killing the dog.

Chris Tivanian, a lieutenant with the SDPD Canine Unit, said this prompted an officer to fire their weapon, shooting and killing the gunman.

“Normally if a suspect has a gun, we wouldn’t send a dog," Tivanian said. "We don’t send dogs on suicide missions. However, in this case, the suspect was not confined to any specific area. He already fired at citizens for no reason. He had access to neighboring areas ... and because it wasn’t contained and we didn’t have time to get it contained before he started moving away from officers, a police dog and a firearm were our only two options.”

Tivanian said officers had to decide if they were going to risk Sir’s life or a human officer's.

Investigators aren’t 100% sure what prompted the suspect to shoot at someone but said it seems like the incident began on a roadway, with the suspect following the victim into a residential neighborhood, so it might have been a case of road rage.

San Diego police report that another dog has already taken Sir's spot with the department.

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