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Dec 13, 2012 11:45 PM by Nathan O'Neal

Emotional hit for Tucson Police after department K-9 is shot, killed

TUCSON - The Tucson Police Department is facing tough times after a midtown carjacking call ended with the death of a suspect and a department K9.

Following a brief chase, TPD officers cornered the suspect outside of a home in the Sam Hughes neighborhood, near Speedway and Country Club.

During the confrontation, the suspect shot and killed a TPD drug-sniffing dog named "Ivan."

The suspect refused orders to drop his pistol prompting four officers to open fire, killing the man.

Ivan was a man's best friend but also a tactical tool in this case. While most K9 handlers are fully aware of the reality of their jobs in law enforcement, knowing it could put those dogs right in the line of fire.

Ivan was brought to the Valley Animal Hospital late last night after he was shot.

News 4 Tucson reached out to Dr. Heather Connally of the Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson to find out what happens when a dog in that condition comes through the emergency doors.

Connally said a triage team would get to work right away in the event of a gun shot wound.

"Usually they're in shock when they arrive...pretty much always...so we need to address that immediately," Connally said.

The kind of damage a bullet could do to a dog like Ivan, Connally said, varies as it mostly depends on where they were hit.

"Obviously if you hit a major organ like the liver or the kidney or a spleen or the heart, that would result in immediate death but the other big organs can result in significant hemorrhage very rapidly so they can die from bleeding out," Connally said.

Unfortunately, Ivan did not survive and the emotional damage that comes from that is heart-breaking for his handler, Officer Chris Fenoglio.

"They form bonds within the family of their handlers and within the agency as a whole," said Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor.

That's a tough pill to swallow, especially for Fenoglio's family.

"One of the biggest fears [Fenoglio] has was how he was going to break the news to his children," Villasenor said. "Ivan was a member of their family so he was very concerned about how his kids were going to take the news."

This is the second emotional hit Fenoglio has suffered this year. While responding to a call back in August, he killed a pedestrian who was crossing Speedway near Rosemont dressed in dark clothes.

An investigation cleared him of any wrongdoing.

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