Deputies were investigating an officer-involved shooting Monday near a South Florida shopping mall that left a K9 officer dead.
Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said during a news conference that police were looking for a gang member involved in an attempted murder a few weeks ago at a bar and that police had received information that at least one suspect and another person were at the mall on Christmas Eve where they met up with a third person.
He said police secured an area of the parking lot and when the men came out of the mall officers confronted them. Officers took two of the men into custody, one of whom was wanted for the attempted murder at the bar. The third person they met up with took off running.
The canine officer pursued and the suspect, as he was running, shot the dog and continued to fire at deputies, Bradshaw said. The officers returned fire, wounding the man. “He’s not deceased yet. He is pretty well wounded,” Bradshaw said of the man’s condition.
The K9 officer later died at a veterinarian emergency center during surgery. “He did his job and saved those deputies lives” Bradshaw said.
The Mall at Wellington Green has more than 160 shops and restaurants in a part of South Florida known for its equestrian community.