The Associated Press
PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has ordered flags flown at half-staff as authorities grieve the loss of a police dog and move to prosecute the suspect charged with fatally stabbing the animal.
Twenty-one-year-old John Lewis Rush was one of Allegheny County’s most wanted fugitives when police say he stabbed the 8-year-old dog, Rocco, Tuesday night as officers tried to arrest him.
Police say Rush used a pocket knife to stab Rocco in the back and his handler, Officer Philip Lerza in the shoulder. Two other officers were hurt in the struggle.
The dog survived surgery but died at a veterinary hospital Thursday evening. The animal succumbed to his wounds and was not euthanized.
The mayor said Rocco served the city faithfully and “paid the ultimate price in the line of duty.”
Rush, 21, was wanted on warrants related to probation violations and failing to register as a sex offender.
Rush, who doesn’t have a listed attorney, faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of attacking the dog.