State

Sheriff's dog bites fleeing suspect who jumped into Los Banos canal

An alleged burglar is recovering from a dog bite after Merced County sheriff's deputies said he tried fleeing from them but was stopped by the department's dog.

The name of the suspect, a white man in his late 20s or early 30s, has not been released as deputies are still trying to determine his identity, according to Deputy Tom MacKenzie.

The incident was reported at 8:40 a.m. Sunday after a resident in the Los Banos area, near Volta Road and Henry Miller Road, returned to his trailer and saw the suspect running away. The resident called law enforcement and ran after the suspect.

The suspect jumped into a nearby canal, which had a water depth of 3- to 4-feet. MacKenzie said deputies arrived on scene and positioned themselves on opposite sides of the canal bank. Even after deputies found the suspect, however, he still refused to get out of the water.

After ignoring repeated orders to exit the water, the suspect began moving toward the middle of the canal, when Sgt. Keith McClain shot him in the upper thigh with a bean bag round, MacKenzie said.

MacKenzie said the suspect came back toward shore and tried to hide behind some bushes near the edge of the water. "Charlie," the department's service dog, pursued the suspect, biting him on the left forearm and began pulling him onto shore.

Although the suspect tried to pry off the dog off and pull him into deeper water, MacKenzie said the dog bit him on the right hand. Deputies entered the water and arrested the suspect.

The man was taken to Memorial Hospital in Los Banos for treatment.

MacKenzie said the suspect's identity has not been confirmed because he lied about his name.

After the suspect is released from the hospital, MacKenzie said he'll be booked into Merced County Jail on burglary charges.

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