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Update: K-9 Bruno’s lungs functioning, surgery successful

K-9 Officer Bruno’s miraculous recovery from a gunshot wound last week took another positive turn Friday – when doctors declared that his repaired lung is now working properly.

An X-ray of Bruno's shattered jaw

An X-ray of Bruno’s shattered jaw

“It was a very successful surgery,” said Lt. Tim Schmidt. “They took his breathing tube out, and he’s healing exactly the way they want him to.”

Bruno fasted for 12-hours before the early morning surgery at Yorba Regional Animal Hospital.

Surgeons also reattached the bottom portion of his tongue, which will enable him to drink and eat with greater ease.

It’s unclear when he’ll return home with his partner and handler, Officer R.J. Young, wife Rachel, and daughter, Grace, 3-months.

But Bruno probably won’t be returning to work.

The round is lodged less than an inch from Bruno's heart

The round is lodged less than an inch from Bruno’s heart

Bruno was injured on March 20, when he located a suspect believed to have fired at probation officers. A gang member who had been released from prison 10 days earlier, the suspect opened fire, hitting Bruno in the face. Returning fire, officers killed the suspect.

R.J. Young said without Bruno “there’s no doubt in my mind that either me or somebody else would’ve gotten hurt.”

The round shattered Bruno’s jaw, and damaged part of his lung. X-Rays show just how much devastation the round caused. They also show how the round lodged within an inch of his heart. It was so close to his heart, officials said, that surgeons decided not to remove it.

His story has drawn international attention and millions of views on Facebook and Twitter. This morning, Bruno and the Youngs were featured on the ABC News program, Good Morning America.

Donations to help the Youngs fund Bruno’s long-term health care have flowed into the Friends of the Anaheim Police K-9 Association.

In an interview Thursday, R.J. Young described Bruno as “like a son to me.”

“Each day is better than the last,” R.J. Young said. “He’s like a son to me. Bruno will be with me for the rest of my life.”

Donations can be made at any US Bank or on its website to the “Friends of the Anaheim Police Canine Association – Bruno Donation Account.” Money is also accepted via PayPal to foak9@hotmail.com.

Bruno’s condition continues to improve; his story draws national and celeb attention

K-9 Officer Bruno’s recovery from a gunshot wound continues to tug at the heartstrings of the community – and the nation.Bruno

His handler, R.J. Young, said his condition is improving. He and his wife, Rachel, visited with Bruno for about 20 minutes Thursday, and said the surgeons who reconstructed his jaw are expected to give him a thorough examination tomorrow.

“We’ll know tomorrow whether he will get his chest tube out,” Young said. “If so that means his damaged lung is doing what it’s supposed to do.”

Also Thursday afternoon, a crew from the ABC News program Good Morning America (@GMA on Twitter) visited Orange County to interview the Youngs. The story is expected to air Friday morning during the 7 a.m. hour.

During the filming at the Yorba Regional Animal Hospital, where Bruno is still listed in critical condition, Kay Hill, of Riverside, showed up with her checkbook to make a donation to the Friends of the Anaheim Police K-9 Association.

She was elated to meet the Youngs – and to hear about Bruno’s improvement.

“I was touched by the story,” Hill said, hugging R.J. Young and handing him $100. “I saw him on TV this morning. We love you, Bruno.”

She’s not alone.

Rachel Young said students from dozens of elementary schools have sent stacks of cards with well wishes.

The story has also gone viral on social media. More than 1.3 million people have viewed it on Anaheim PD’s Facebook page – and it has reached more than four million Twitter accounts.

Among those tweeting their support: Celebrity actors John Stamos, Bo Derek and Shannon Tweed.

Bruno was injured on March 20, after he found a suspect who had allegedly shot at probation officers on Mayfair Avenue. The suspect, a gang member who had been released from prison 10 days earlier, opened fire, hitting him in the face. Returning fire, officers killed the suspect.

The round shattered his jaw, damaged part of his lung and is lodged less than an inch from his heart.

“To see Bruno’s reaction with R.J. is wonderful,” Rachel Young said. “Bruno spends more time with him than me.”

The Youngs said they have been overwhelmed by the public’s reaction and continued support.

“Each day is better than the last,” R.J. Young said. “He’s like a son to me. Bruno will be with me for the rest of my life.”

Donations can be made at any US Bank or on its website to the “Friends of the Anaheim Police Canine Association – Bruno Donation Account.” Money is also accepted via PayPal to foak9@hotmail.com.

Bruno ‘took a bullet that was meant for one of us,’ says handler; He’s retiring

Bruno, the police dog who made international news this week, “took a bullet that was meant for one of us” when he signaled that an armed gang member was hiding near a trashcan, his handler said Tuesday.Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 1.18.42 PM

“There’s no doubt in my mind that either me or somebody else would’ve gotten hurt,” said Anaheim Police Officer R.J. Young, 36, Bruno’s partner. “Bruno did exactly what he’s trained to do.”

The gang member opened fire on Thursday afternoon, hitting Bruno in the face. Returning fire, officers killed the suspect.

Young said Bruno will not return to work. “He’s got a long road ahead of him,” Young said. “He’ll be able to lay around and get fat. His new job will be Mr. Big Brother” to Young’s daughter, Grace, who is three months old.

In an interview with Behind the Badge, Young said he wanted to thank the public for its support and to encourage donations to K-9 programs – especially Friends of the Anaheim Police K-9 Association.

“The support we’ve received from the police department, from police departments across the country and from citizens around the world has been amazing,” Young said.

Young described Bruno as a “stud.”

After being shot, he yelped only once. Young scooped him up and raced him to Yorba Regional Animal Hospital, where surgeons worked for three hours to reconstruct his jaw and remove part of a damaged lung.

The round lodged less than an inch from his heart.

Bruno, who is seven years old, stayed on his feet for most of the “longest ride of my life” to the hospital, before finally collapsing, Young said.

“I was banging the cage and calling his name,” Young said. “I kept saying, ‘We’re almost there, Buddy.’ He never cried. He never whined.”

Anaheim police dispatchers radioed the hospital, and they were ready with a gurney when Young and Bruno arrived.

Getting him there so quickly saved his life, Young said, because Bruno had lost so much blood.

On Tuesday, Young, his wife, and daughter brought coffee and sandwiches to thank the hospital staff. “We’ll never be able to repay them for what they did for us,” he said.

Young said he hopes people appreciate that it’s not just him, Bruno and his family dealing with the fallout of being involved in a shooting.

A nine-year APD veteran, Young described Bruno as an outstanding cop.

Early in his career, he found 29 kilos of cocaine during a search.

After the Anaheim Angels’ Nick Adenhart was killed, it was Bruno who initially tracked the hit-and-run driver to railroad tracks that eventually led detectives to find and arrest a suspect.

Another time, Bruno found a suspect armed with a loaded gun hiding in a bush.

“He’s had a phenomenal career,” he said. “And he put his life on the line for us all the time.”

Young said Bruno loves police work. When he’d hear the sound of Young snapping his gun belt, Bruno would head to the front door with his leash.

But he also has a softer side. At work, “he’s Daddy’s boy,” but at home, he dotes on his wife, Rachel, and the baby.

On Sunday, Bruno ate unassisted for the first time. He also went for a short walk. The staff at the animal hospital shared his progress on their Facebook page, and hundreds of thousands of people on social media cheered and shared the positive news. The police department received messages from people in Australia, England and Scotland.

On Sunday, Anaheim’s Friends of the K-9 and Anaheim Buzz held a fund-raiser for Bruno, which Young’s wife attended. The event netted $4,600.

He said he’s remained composed most of the time since Thursday’s shooting. He admitted that when he saw his K-9 partners at the hospital after the shooting he “got a little emotional.”

“The police department has shown that they consider Bruno part of the family,” he said. “They are just as much a cop as any of us.”

On Monday morning, Young enjoyed a 30-minute reunion with Bruno.

Young said he curled up in his kennel with him. “I could’ve just fallen asleep in there with him.”

Interested in helping?

The Friends of the Anaheim Police K-9 Association is collecting donations to cover Bruno’s medical care. Donations can be made at any US Bank or on its website to the “Friends of the Anaheim Police Canine Association – Bruno Donation Account.” Money is also accepted via PayPal to foak9@hotmail.com.

Video: Injured K-9 Officer Bruno eats on his own; receives blood from K-9 colleague

Bruno, the Anaheim Police K-9 officer who was shot in the face on Thursday, ate on his own for the first time Sunday afternoon – an important step in his recovery, officials said.

He was shot during a search for a gunman who had fired at probation officers. The round entered his mouth, shattered his jaw and ended up less than an inch from his heart.

On Saturday night, he received blood from his Anaheim Police K-9 colleague, Ares; another Anaheim Police K-9, Guenther, also donated blood.

“His blood count/numbers are slightly up,” wrote Officer Brett Klevos in an email to colleagues Sunday afternoon, thanking them for their support and prayers.

He said doctors removed Bruno’s catheter Sunday, and the German Shepherd took a short walk on some grass at the Yorba Regional Animal Hospital (read more below the video).

“It was exhausting for K9 Bruno, but a great sign,” Klevos wrote. “The swelling has gone slightly down in his jaw. They made a special paste out of his prescription food and he was able to consume it with his back teeth.”

Though still considered in critical condition, the doctor told Klevos that Bruno is “making leaps and bounds considering what he has been through. He is still being given heavy antibiotics and is on heavy sedation to hopefully keep him improving and keep him on the road to recovery.”

He is not yet taking visitors, but Klevos wrote that he “is in the best hands possible,” adding “we could see more of ‘Bruno’ in his eyes today.”

Surgeons reconstructed his jaw during a three-hour surgery following the shooting.

Since Thursday, hundreds of thousands of people have posted supportive messages on the police department’s Facebook page, via Twitter and via other social media outlets.

“Those of us at the police department are touched by the unbelievable outpouring of support from the community and across the nation and world,” said Lt. Tim Schmidt. “Bruno did his job this week, locating a dangerous suspect and very likely saving officers’ lives. And since then, he has shown a remarkable will to live.”

Police captain: ‘He’s a tough dog who did his job well yesterday. He’s a hero’

After being shot in the face, Anaheim police K-9 officer Bruno returned to his handler, whimpered once and wanted to return to the action.

Photo by Capt. Mark Cyprien

Bruno remains in stable condition Photo by Capt. Mark Cyprien

Even as his handler raced him to the hospital, Bruno’s ears were up and he didn’t want to lie down, police officials said.

Police identified the man who shot the dog as Robert Andrew Moreno, 21, an Orange gang member who was released from prison 10 days ago.

His rap sheet includes auto theft, narcotics violations and assault on a custodial officer, officials said.

He was killed Thursday when officers returned fire.

The action began to unfold about 2 p.m. near the intersection of La Palma Avenue and Citron Street when two probation officers approached three men.

Two fled.

At least one of them fired at the probation officer who chased him – and then the other who had detained the suspect who didn’t flee, police said.

Deputy Chief Julian Harvey said the probation officers were shaken up but otherwise okay.

About 3:15 p.m., Bruno joined SWAT officers in searching for the suspect. His handler had him on a roughly 20-foot leash when he gave the signal that the suspect was either inside or behind a black trashcan with a lid.

The suspect opened fire.

Following the unrest of 2012, the police department instituted a policy where it would visit family members following an officer-involved shooting to answer any questions they can and provide them with information about the process that follows, including the District Attorney’s Office investigation.

Early Friday morning, police a counselor, a District Attorney’s Office investigator and a Coroner’s official met with Moreno’s mother and aunt for about an hour.

Police say they plan to have counselors in the neighborhood where the shooting occurred – and also at two schools that were on lockdown Thursday.

At Yorba Linda Regional Animal Hospital, where Bruno was in surgery for three hours, surgeons removed a good part of his lung and worked to reconstruct his shattered jaw, said Capt. Bob Conklin. The round missed his aorta by less than an inch, he said.

A six-year veteran, Bruno is Anaheim’s most senior K-9 officer.

“His vital signs were stable,” Conklin said. “The next 18 hours are crucial. The hospital did an amazing job.”

Police K-9 handlers from Riverside, Los Angeles and elsewhere joined police officials and even community members who visited the hospital to show support for Bruno.

His handler was joined by his wife and young child at the hospital. Police officials said Bruno is a beloved member of the family.

Capt. Mark Cyprien said another K9 officer put on scrubs, was by Bruno’s side during the surgery and gave regular reports to his colleague and his family.

“He’s a tough dog who did his job well yesterday,” Cyprien said. “He’s a hero.”

Response from Police Chief Raul Quezada regarding lawsuit related to the 2012 officer-involved shooting of Martin Angel Hernandez

Yesterday, I read inaccurate and inflammatory comments attributed to an attorney representing the mother of Martin Angel Hernandez, a gang member who was shot in 2012 after pointing a shotgun at an Anaheim Police officer. The attorney not only misrepresented the facts of the incident, which were thoroughly investigated by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, he also attempted to sully the reputation of our gang unit.

First, I would like to share the District Attorney’s Office’s findings:

On March 6, 2012, at approximately 9:48 p.m., APD Dispatch received a 911 call reporting five to six males standing outside a white car in the alley of an apartment complex on East Wakefield Street in the City of Anaheim. The caller indicated that he observed one of the males put a handgun behind the driver’s seat of the white car and a second male place a handgun in his waistband…

“Legal Analysis:”
While discharging his duty as a police officer and in response to a citizen’s call for police assistance, Officer (Dan) Hurtado entered an alley at night with a known gang presence realizing that he would likely encounter armed gang members. Officer Hurtado then observed Hernandez, a well-documented member of a criminal street gang, armed with a shotgun, which was ultimately pointed at the officer. At the time the shotgun was pointed at the officer, the officer was in an open alley with no cover and believed, reasonably based on all the available evidence, that he was about to be shot. In addition, Officer Hurtado knew that an innocent civilian was standing in the immediate vicinity and in harm’s way. In order to neutralize the perceived threat, the officer fired his department-issued rifle. As discussed below and based on well-established law and all the known facts, it would be unreasonable and unfair to conclude that Officer Hurtado did not have justification to use his weapon in self-defense.”

I encourage anybody with questions about the case to read the DA’s nine-page investigative report: http://www.orangecountyda.com/docs/martin_hernandez_ois_letter.pdf

Officer Hurtado displayed professionalism and courage in protecting an innocent bystander that evening. This case illustrates the danger our officers face and the courage that they display every day in fulfilling their sworn mission to protect and serve the community.

As Anaheim’s new police chief, my top priority continues to be engaging all segments of the community. Since the unrest that occurred in the summer of 2012, we have resumed foot patrols, have added officers to our Community Policing Teams, started a Neighborhood Advisory Council and require our officers to record all police activity.

These initiatives and others such as our Junior Cadets and other Cops 4 Kids programs are designed to build strong and trusting relationships with the community we are sworn to protect.

Our mission remains protecting the community, maintaining order and preventing crime.

Although gang crime is down significantly over the past year, and has been trending down over the past decade, the reality remains that we have gang crime issues in Anaheim. The Gang Unit has played a major role in making neighborhoods throughout the City safer for residents, business owners, children and visitors. Enforcement and investigations are not the only roles of this successful unit, however. Youth Services and Safe Schools officers work in concert with them; focusing on prevention, intervention and diversion to invest in the next generation to provide opportunities and alternatives to the gang lifestyle.

Officers help rescue Bandit, a ‘neglected’ German Shepherd

Bandit arrives at the vet

Bandit arrives at the vet

The photos angered Shawn Hollub, a volunteer with German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County.

“The dog was living in a filthy yard full of trash, feces and urine,” she said.

Old and suffering from neglect, “Bandit” needed immediate medical care and a new home, and Hollub was determined to give him both.

But the 52-year-old Huntington Harbor resident was leery about approaching the Anaheim home by herself. So she called the Anaheim Police Department.

“I had no idea what I was walking into,” she said.

Officers Ken Johnson and Steve Depaola met her near the man’s home, and she watched from her Range Rover as the officers approached the front door.Bandit's leg

“It was clear the elderly man cared for the dog, but was old himself and not able to take care of the dog,” she said. “I watched in awe at how they treated this man. They were not accusatory, in fact just the opposite, they were very kind and gentle with the man. They explained to him that I was with a rescue and wanted to help his dog and get him the medical treatment he needed and find him a good home.”

The man agreed to surrender Bandit, his companion of 11 years.

“I rushed him to the vet where he is currently being treated,” she said.

The dog was malnourished and had giant open wounds on his legs.

Over the past few weeks, Bandit’s health has improved, but he’s still under the care of a veterinarian, says Hollub, who owns a EBS Products, an automotive service and equipment company based in Westminster.

His prognosis is good, she said.

Last week, she sent an email to the mayor and Chief of Police Raul Quezada, commending the officers. photo

“These officers went above and beyond to help an innocent animal who was unable to help himself,” she wrote. “(They) treated a elderly man with kindness and compassion and made sure this rescuer was never in harm’s way. They were professional, compassionate and at times quite funny. They took what could have been a tense situation and turned into a positive win-win.

“Officers Johnson and Depaola set the bar for police work. It’s not always about arresting bad guys. Police work is also about helping the community, and they are shining examples of that fact. Thanks to their efforts an old neglected dog is no longer calling a filthy yard home, an elderly Anaheim resident has a new appreciation for the motto “To Protect and Serve”…. and a volunteer with German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County met two heroes.”