Sheriff's vehicle
A San Diego Sheriff’s vehicle. Photo by Alexander Nguyen

Three armed suspects who allegedly robbed a Lakeside convenience store and shot a sheriff’s K-9 were apprehended in Riverside County, a San Diego County Sheriff’s Department spokesman said Monday.

At 11:52 p.m. Sunday, a sheriff’s deputy saw a suspect running out of a 7-Eleven at 10205 Lake Jennings Park Road in Lakeside. A witness told the deputy that the suspect “just robbed the store,” said Lt. Mike Arens of the SDSD.

The deputy attempted to make a traffic stop, but the suspect drove away, Arens said. The deputy pursued the suspect onto westbound Interstate 8, and called the California Highway Patrol to assist.

Three unidentified suspects were in the BMW being pursued by the agencies, which transitioned onto northbound Interstate 15, 10News reported. According to the station, someone in the BMW “opened fire several times at officers during the chase.”

The CHP didn’t immediately reply to a request for details about the pursuit.

According to a Murrieta Police Department spokesman, the suspects’ vehicle entered the city limits and stopped at a Shell gas station at 39614 Los Alamos Road. The suspects left their vehicle and fled into a nearby shopping center, Lt. Jim Gruwell said in a news release.

The three suspects allegedly then tried to carjack another vehicle when San Diego County sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene and deployed a trained dog, but one of the suspects shot it, Arens said.

The robbery suspects attempted to hide from authorities, but were caught and taken into custody, Gruwell said.

Arens said the dog, named Cezar, was taken to a nearby veterinarian and “is expected to make a full recovery.”

The department tweeted a photo of Cezar “being wheeled into surgery after valiantly protecting his handler.”

The dog “likely kept the suspect from getting away and possibly hurting others,” the department tweeted. “Cezar did as he was trained.”

A surgeon removed bullet fragments from the animal’s leg, officials said. The sheriff’s department credited VCA California Veterinary Specialists in Murrieta “for taking such good care of K-9 Cezar,” who was released just before 11 a.m. Monday.

The attempted carjacking victim was unharmed, according to 10News, which also reported that “law enforcement officers did not return fire during the pursuit and in the confrontation at the Murrieta gas station.”

Along with Murrieta police officers, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department also assisted San Diego County deputies and CHP officers, Gruwell said.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, Murrieta Police Department and the CHP were investigating the incident.

Updated at 3:55 p.m., September 6, 2021

–City News Service