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Officer injured, canine partner killed in shootout in Tulare County

A Tulare police officer was injured and his canine partner, Bane, was fatally shot following a pursuit Sunday night.

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One suspect was shot and killed in the gun battle, authorities said. Another suspect was gravely injured, and a third was taken into custody, said Sgt. Jon Hamlin, a spokesman with the Tulare Police Department.

The officer was shot in the arm and torso but is expected to recover. His vest protected him from more serious injuries, Hamlin said.

“We’re in a state of shock right now, and we’re trying to process the events of tonight,” Hamlin told reporters Sunday night.

The deadly encounter began about 7 p.m. when police tried to stop a vehicle with three people inside. The driver sped away, and when a police pursuit ended near Tulare Avenue and Palm Street, an officer and the trio of suspects exchanged gunfire, with Bane caught in the middle.

“It is not lost on us the seriousness of this matter that a human being lost their life tonight and another is fighting for theirs,” the Police Department said in a Facebook post. “We are grateful for our four-legged hero, Bane, and his selfless sacrifice.”

After the police dog’s death, Tulare police escorted Bane to the Sheriff’s Office and invited the public to pay their respects along the procession’s route.

The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the shooting.

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