Breaking News Blog

Friday, Mar 28 2014 11:21 AM

Sheriff's helicopter damaged in 'hard landing' while transporting wounded K-9

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    The Kern County Sheriff's Office works on completing an officer-involved shooting incident investigation in Oildale on Beardsley Avenue the morning of March 27. The shooting happened late March 26.

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BY JASON KOTOWSKI Californian staff writer jkotowski@bakersfield.com

A deputy-involved shooting Wednesday evening has sparked three distinct but related storylines involving the gunfire, a helicopter "hard landing" and a wounded pooch.

First, there's the shooting itself, which killed a man in the 300 block of Beardsley Avenue in Oildale. Then there's the bullet wound to a K-9 that was struck during the shooting and was scheduled to undergo surgery Friday in southern California.

And finally, there's the emergency "hard landing" that a Sheriff's Office helicopter was forced to make early Thursday while transporting the injured dog to Lancaster. The landing damaged the helicopter, which managed to fly to Tehachapi Airport.

No new details were released Friday regarding the shooting. Deputies have said a man on a motorcycle refused to stop for them and then crashed on Beardsley.

Deputies said the man was armed with a handgun, and two deputies fired at him. The man was struck at least once and later pronounced dead at Kern Medical Center.

The man's gun has been recovered, deputies said.

The K-9 was struck -- it remains unclear exactly who shot the dog -- and was loaded onto a helicopter. Sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt has said the chopper was flying through the Tehachapi area at 1:48 a.m. when it encountered an "unexpected, fast-moving storm front."

Pruitt said there was diminished visibility and the pilot was forced to make a hard landing. He said the helicopter sustained minor damage, and the incident is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

Pruitt said Friday he did not know if the helicopter was still at Tehachapi Airport or had flown back to the Bakersfield area.

After the helicopter landed, the dog was transported by ground to Lancaster, where a decision was made not to operate at that time. The dog was driven back to Bakersfield, and then to southern California for surgery.

Pruitt said he did not know exactly where the dog was struck. An update on the dog's condition was not available late Friday afternoon.

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