A 32-year-old Missouri man was shot and killed by police Tuesday afternoon after he fatally stabbed a police dog in a St. Paul home.
Police entered the house in the 700 block of Aurora Avenue just after 1 p.m. Tuesday, searching for Alden Anderson, who was wanted on a first-degree criminal sexual conduct warrant in Ramsey County.
Officers, including the K-9 team, found Anderson armed with a knife in the basement. That's where he stabbed Kody, a 9-year-old police dog, numerous times, authorities said.
"Officers, recognizing the threat to the officers themselves, then fatally shot the suspect," according to a police statement.
Police dogs are treated the same as human officers, said St. Paul police spokesman Sgt. Paul Paulos.
"If the dog is harmed, there is a likelihood that the harm will be turned on the officer," he added.
Kody, who had been a police dog for seven years, died en route to a veterinary hospital.
Hai Truong was home with his 2-year-old son as law enforcement authorities surrounded his neighbor's home. The heavy police presence included members of the North Star Fugitive Task Force, which includes St. Paul police officers, U.S. deputy marshals and Ramsey County Sheriff's deputies.
"There was a good amount there and more just kept coming," Truong said. "They blocked different entrances and different corners of the house with their guns drawn."
With the heavy police presence, Truong said he wasn't nervous inside his home as he watched the commotion from his window. "But I did move my son in case there was some shooting," he said.
Police declined to immediately name the officers involved in the shooting or release additional details about what happened, citing the ongoing investigation.
However, Paulos said that Kody's handler, officer Dave Longbehn, a 28-year veteran of the department, was telling investigators what happened.
Longbehn has been with the K-9 Unit since 2002. He received the department's highest award in 2011 for confronting a man suspected in a carjacking and of fatally shooting Maplewood Police Sgt. Joe Bergeron.
The suspect in that incident, Jason J. Jones, 21, hit Longbehn in the face with a heavy metal object wrapped in cloth. The two struggled for Longbehn's gun, and Longbehn shot and killed Jones.
The Police Department awarded Longbehn the Medal of Valor and the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association named him the Police Officer of the Year in 2011.
In a statement, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman commended Kody for his service to the city. "K-9 dogs take on whatever task is asked of them, oftentimes amidst the worst of circumstances," Coleman said. "I thank him for his sacrifice for the city."
Paulos, who also has served as a K-9 officer, described police dogs as family members. "They are the very front line."
Four other St. Paul police dogs have died on duty, Paulos said. One dog, Laser, was fatally shot in 1994 along with his handler, Tim Jones, while tracking a gunman who had killed another officer, Ron Ryan, Jr.