Funeral services set for Pittsburgh police dog killed during an arrest

Funeral services set for Pittsburgh police dog killed during an arrest

Pittsburgh : PA : USA | Jan 31, 2014 at 3:40 PM PST
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K-9 dogs train at the Iraq police academy in Baghdad

Funeral services haven been set for K9 Officer Rocco, the 8-year-old Pittsburgh police dog who died late Thursday from stab wounds inflicted during an arrest by a wanted sex offender.

According to a news release from police spokeswoman Diane Richards, a procession of police officers will leave the training academy on February 7 at 10:00 a.m. and head to the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall on the University of Pittsburgh Campus.

At 11:00 a.m. a memorial service will be held and is closed to the public at the request of Rocco’s partner, Phil Lezra and his family. Members of the media will be allowed inside the Hall during the service, however, no photography will be allowed.

A judge arraigned John L. Rush, 21, of Pittsburgh this afternoon, the suspect in Rocco’s death and ordered him held on a $1 million bond on charges of disarming a law enforcement officer, harming a police animal, aggravated assault, burglary, and cruelty to animals.

According to court documents, Rush, a convicted sex offender was wanted by police because he failed to update his address. When Allegheny County sheriff’s deputies spotted Rush he ran into the basement of a house and while fighting with police and resisting arrest he stabbed Rocco several times in the shoulder and back with a pocket knife.

Rocco was rushed to a nearby veterinary hospital where he underwent two operations and one of his kidneys was removed. Early Thursday his condition was upgraded from critical to serious. However, shortly after 6:15 p.m. Thursday he died from his injuries.

Last March, according to a court filing Rush punched his former 16-year-old girlfriend “10 times in the left side of [her] head,” and threatened to kill her and her mother.

Less than a month prior to Rush’s alleged assault on the 16-year-old he was convicted of sexually assaulting a minor and corrupting the morals of a minor according the Pennsylvania State Police.

Assaulting a police officer can result in a 20- to 40-year prison sentence, and abusing a police dog has a maximum penalty of 31⁄2 to 7 years, according to the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office.

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Rocco, the Pittsburgh Police K9 officer killed in the line of duty Thursday.
StephenPope is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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