A veteran Los Angeles police officer was severely injured Thursday when a police dog bit him in the calf during a search for a missing shotgun in South L.A., department officials said.
Officers were searching streets near South Vermont Avenue and West Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard after a locking mechanism broke and the shotgun fell off a police motorcycle sometime Thursday afternoon.
The police dog was brought in to help with the search, LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman said, and at some point bit the patrol officer.
The dog bit a significant part of the officer's leg, officials said. His partner used a first-aid trauma kit -- one of 8,000 the Police Commission approved for officers earlier this year -- to make a tourniquet that one LAPD official said likely saved the officer's life.
Neiman said it was unclear what may have triggered the bite.
The officer was taken to a hospital and underwent surgery.
At a campus safety event at USC on Friday morning, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck mentioned that one of his officers was "severely injured" the night before. The chief said he was heading to the hospital after delivering the keynote address.
As of late Friday morning, police said the missing weapon had not been found.