St. Paul: Police kill man after he fatally stabs K-9, authorities say
Updated: 02/13/2013 10:49:53 AM CST
The police dog of a St. Paul officer, who prevailed in a lethal fight with a cop killer in 2010, was stabbed to death Tuesday, Feb. 12, and police fatally shot the suspect.
The 32-year-old Missouri man, whom police haven’t named, had a warrant for his arrest because he had been charged with criminal sexual conduct, said Sgt. Paul Paulos, police spokesman.
Members of the U.S. Marshals Service’s North Star Fugitive Task Force, including St. Paul police officers, deputy marshals and Ramsey County sheriff’s deputies, were seeking the man and had conducted surveillance on a home in the 700 block of Aurora Avenue and confirmed the suspect was there, Paulos said.
At about 1:50 p.m., officers entered the home and found the man in the basement, Paulos said. The suspect grabbed Kody and stabbed the dog multiple times, Paulos said. Police shot the man, who died at the scene.
“People will say, ‘Well, the dog got stabbed, what is the danger there?’ ” Paulos said. “The danger is imminent. They’re within 21 feet of striking distance. It’s a very dangerous situation, not just for the K-9 himself, but the officers in general.”
Kody, a 9-year-old German shepherd with seven years of service, died on the way to an animal hospital, Paulos said.
In 2010, Longbehn encountered Jason Jones, who had killed Maplewood police Sgt. Joseph Bergeron hours earlier. Jones hit Longbehn
in the face repeatedly with a metal object, telling him he would kill him. Longbehn fatally shot Jones during the struggle. At the time, Kody was in the squad car and Longbehn wasn’t able to let him out.
“He was going absolutely nuts because he wanted to help me,” Longbehn said in a later interview.
Police in Tuesday’s case were not releasing the suspect’s name, pending positive identification.
Ramsey County sheriff’s office records show a warrant was issued Monday for the arrest of Alden Patrick Anderson, of St. Louis, for first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Monday was when he was charged with the offense in Ramsey County District Court.
Details of the case weren’t immediately available. The statute Anderson was charged under says there is a significant relationship between the alleged victim and the suspect, and the victim is younger than 16.
People in the neighborhood who were outside at the time of the shooting reported hearing anywhere from three to 10 gunshots.
Hai Truong, who lives next door to the home, was about to leave with his 2-year-old son to run errands when he looked out the window. He said he saw a large police presence.
“I saw a lot of guns, so I was like, ‘Let’s put him in the furthest room from that wall,’ ” he said of his son.
The last person fatally shot by St. Paul police was in December, after police say 20-year-old Melvin Fletcher Jr. robbed a Grand Avenue grocery store.
It’s a felony in Minnesota for people to kill or cause “substantial bodily harm” to a police dog.
Four St. Paul police dogs have been killed in the line of duty, Paulos said, most recently in 1998.
Mayor Chris Coleman said in a statement: “My heart goes out to Officer Longbehn and his family as they cope with the loss of Kody. Kody was officer Longbehn’s eyes and ears on the front line and served Dave, the St. Paul police department, and our city with honor for seven years.”
Paulos, who used to work in the K-9 unit, said that police dogs are like family members and that it hits the department hard when they are killed.
“They’re the very front line in some of the most dangerous situations you can ever imagine,” he said, adding that Kody would have protected the officers.
Mara H. Gottfried can be reached at 651-228-5262.