A beloved San Jacinto Police K-9 was shot and killed in the line of duty Wednesday by a wanted felon, who was later killed by deputies after barricading himself inside a home, sheriff's officials said.
The incident began about 2 p.m. near San Jacinto Avenue and Clark Drive in Hemet, where an armed man was holed up inside, Riverside County sheriff's officials said.
The man shot K-9 Sultan, who had been with the San Jacinto Police Department since 2013, when the dog entered the home, officials said. Sultan then stumbled outside of the home. His handler, Deputy Mark Wallace drove him to the vet, where he died.
"It's a big loss," San Jacinto Chief of Police and Riverside County Sheriff's Lt. Stephen Mike said. "We're a family in the valley and the officers are very upset right now."
Witnesses described seeing tear gas and hearing what sounded like gunfire before an ambulance arrived to the home just after 11 p.m. The man "emerged from underneath the barricaded home while armed" before deputies shot and killed him, Deputy Albert Martinez said.
Sultan is the first K-9 killed in the line of duty in the Riverside County Sheriff's department.
"We've lost a family member, we've lost one of our own," San Jacinto Mayor Crystal Ruiz said. "It's heartbreaking and it's scary to think people would do something like this. It's terrible."
Ruiz described Sultan as a dog who has caught criminals, protected citizens and officers, and caught "people that were going to get away."
"He was an amazing, amazing officer," Ruiz said. "He's going to be honored as one of San Jacinto's finest, because that's what he was."
All deputies and officers involved in the man's shooting will be on paid adminstrative leave pending an investigation. Residents evacuated for the standoff were allowed to return home Thursday morning.
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Robert Kovacik contributed to this report.