The officers involved in the Monday shooting of their own police dog were identified Wednesday.
Las Vegas police said officer Edward J. Renfer, 28, remained on-duty two days after shooting Marco, a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois police dog.
Marco mistakenly bit Renfer’s partner, officer Michael R. Foster, 28, as police were chasing a man through the backyards of homes near Alta Drive and Jones Boulevard, police said.
Marco was still in critical but stable condition Wednesday but was showing “slight” improvement two days after emergency surgery, police said.
Foster was treated and released for the dog bite and was placed on “modified duty” status following the event.
Officers originally responded to the 200 block of Wisteria Avenue to investigate reports of a man with a knife, who had attempted to enter several homes, police said. Police identified the man as 18-year-old Nguyen Hooker and said he may have been on drugs.
The arriving officers had a “physical confrontation” with Hooker but were unable to immediately arrest him.
Hooker was spotted by a police helicopter in the backyard of a home in the 300 block of Upland Avenue, which officers quickly surrounded.
Marco was sent into the backyard by his handler, officer Jeffrey S. Corbett, 36. Hooker was able to fight off the dog and hopped a nearby wall.
As Marco followed Hooker, he came into contact with Foster, who was on the other side of the wall. In an apparent state of confusion, Marco bit Foster’s arm and wouldn’t let go even when a Taser stun gun was used, police said.
Corbett arrived and was able to summon Marco away from Foster, but when the dog appeared to be coming back toward the officer, Renfer fired a single shot from his handgun.
The dog was taken to an animal clinic and stabilized. He was later transferred to a trauma center in the southern part of the valley for surgery.
“Obviously the long-term prognosis is still unknown,” officer Bill Cassell said on Monday.
It’s unclear what lead to the errant bite, but police said the issue isn’t covered in their training manual.
“We have nothing in our training that dictates how a patrol officer should behave around K-9s,” Cassell said.
Hooker was taken to Las Vegas City Jail and booked on charges of obstructing an officer and resisting arrest.
Police said there’s no reason Marco can’t return to his K-9 duties if he recovers.
“As long as the dog has no long-lasting side effects from the incident, I don’t see anything that would prevent him coming back,” said Cassell, a police spokesman.
Police said Corbett has been assigned to the K-9 detail since 2006. He remains on duty.