Wiping away tears and occasionally breaking down, the handler of a Long Beach police dog killed in a shootout said Tuesday the animal saved officers' lives the night he died.
"I know that one of us would have gotten shot that night," Long Beach Police Officer Mike Parcells told NBC4's Gordon Tokumatsu.
Ranger, a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois, will be honored during a funeral service Wednesday. His ashes will be buried at the Long Beach Police Academy, next to three other Long Beach police dogs killed in the line of duty.
Ranger was shot to death Oct. 2 while police attempted to flush an armed parolee from his hiding spot under a porch. Agustin Murguia, 22, was also killed in the exchange of gunfire.
That night, Parcells was seen in news footage helping carry the mortally wounded Ranger to an animal hospital. But Ranger died later that night.
"I don't think that (Murguia) saw the dog," Parcells said. "I can almost guarantee he didn't see the dog. He saw something pass in front of light, saw a muzzle flash, and the dog jumped up onto the patio. Um, and his back legs were down."
This one almost had me watering up -- running with the dog to the animal hospital.
Gotta feel sorry for this guy, he just lost a loving member of his family. I know how it feels. Good thing they eradicated the waste of life that was shooting at them.