A procession of K-9 units, cruisers and motorcycles prepared to leave from the Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center as Rocco is taken from the center to the car of his handler, Officer Phil Lerza.(More details below videos.)
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K9 Rocco succumbed to stab wounds sustained two days earlier while protecting his handler and another officer, who were in a violent struggle with a fugitive.
The subject had attempted to disarm a deputy earlier in the day when an Allegheny County sheriff’s deputy attempted to arrest him for failure to register as a sex offender and home invasion. The man was able to flee after struggling with the deputy and fled to the 3700 block of Butler Street, where he was located several hours later.
Officers located him the basement of a building. When they entered the darkened room the man began swinging a 5-inch knife at them, wounding both officers. K9 Rocco attacked the subject but suffered a deep stab wound to the back, which punctured his kidney and spine. Rocco was taken to an emergency animal hospital where he underwent multiple surgeries and blood transfusions, but died two days later.
The subject was taken into custody and faces multiple charges.
K9 Rocco had served with the Pittsburgh Police Department for five years.
Condolences may be sent to:
Pittsburgh Police Department
1203 Western Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15233