K9 shot, killed during officer-involved shooting in El Mirage
PHOENIX — The Glendale Police Department was investigating after an officer-involved shooting left a police K9 and the suspect dead Friday night, authorities said.
The incident occurred around 5:20 p.m. in the area of Grand Avenue and the U.S. 60, according to the El Mirage Police Department.
El Mirage officers were attempting to apprehend 38-year-old Joe Ruelas, who was wanted for aggravated assault. When they attempted to arrest Ruelas, he fled from the scene holding a handgun.
The police officers gave chase with a K9 unit, Koki. The K9 was sent to apprehend Ruelas, who shot and killed Koki. The officers returned fire at Ruelas, who ran out of site.
“It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of our K9 Koki who was killed in the line of duty tonight protecting other officers from harm. He will be greatly missed,” El Mirage Police Chief Paul Marzocca said in a Facebook post late Friday evening.
Marzocca also said that the suspect was later found dead from a self-inflicted injury.
The El Mirage community is hosting a candle light vigil for K-9 Koki at 7 p.m. tonight. Anyone interested in attending can go to the El Mirage Police Department, 12401 W. Cinnabar Ave., El Mirage. Candles will be provided.💙 pic.twitter.com/x28NKhbaAT
— AZ Fire & Medical (@AZFireAuthority) November 23, 2019
It was the 34th shooting involving law enforcement in the Valley this year and the first involving the El Mirage Police Department, according to statistics compiled by KTAR News 92.3 FM.