Oklahoma City police Tuesday identified the man fatally shot by an officer Sunday night as he stabbed the officer’s canine partner.
Police also announced funeral plans for the police dog, Kye, a 3-year-old German shepherd.
Sgt. Ryan Stark shot Mark Salazar, 22, of Blue Mound, Texas, after Salazar fled from the scene of a robbery and stabbed Kye when the dog caught up to him. Stark fired after trying to separate Salazar from the dog, police said.
Police said they think Salazar also led an officer on a short chase Sunday afternoon after witnesses reported he left Kevin Durant’s Southern Cuisine restaurant without paying his bill. The chase ended in traffic on Reno Avenue, according to a police report.
Salazar recently pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana and resisting arrest in Tarrant County, Texas, according to court documents. He spent about a week in the Tarrant County jail in early August for the two misdemeanors.
Kye suffered multiple stab wounds and underwent emergency surgery. He experienced complications after surgery and died about 3:30 p.m. Monday, police said. The dog had about two years of service with the Oklahoma City Police Department.
Services for Kye will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at First Southern Baptist Church, 6400 S Sooner Road. The public service will be conducted with full police honors.
He will be cremated, said Linda McCullough, owner of Precious Pets Cemetery.
Stark, a 13-year veteran, was put on administrative leave pending the outcome of standard criminal and administrative investigations by the police department.
Sunday’s shooting was the seventh officer-involved shooting involving Oklahoma City police this year. Four of those shootings were fatal.
The incident began about 8:45 p.m. Sunday when police were called to a business burglary at 7233 S Air Depot Blvd. Officers and Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers pursued a man who sped from the scene south on Interstate 35, police Capt. Dexter Nelson said.
Troopers used tactics to end the pursuit near the Goldsby exit, where the vehicle hit a ditch, Nelson said.
Salazar got out of his vehicle and started running south. Stark let Kye chase him, and Kye apprehended Salazar as he ran behind a business, police said.
Stark arrived to find Salazar armed with a knife, stabbing Kye, police said. Stark tried to separate Salazar from the dog before drawing his gun and fatally shooting the man, police said.
Nelson said a police officer cannot shoot a person solely for attacking a police dog, but officers are trained to use lethal force when they are within 25 feet of a person with a knife if the situation warrants.
Police dogs face a variety of dangers on the job. In the past, dogs have been injured from falling while chasing suspects, as well as from being shot, punched, kicked and cut with a box knife, Nelson said.
Sunday was the first time an Oklahoma City police dog was killed by a person that officers were chasing, Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow said.