Flags at half-staff to honor Pittsburgh K-9 dog

Written by The Associated Press | Jan 31, 2014 11:17 AM

Pittsburgh Police

(Pittsburgh) -- Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has ordered flags flown at half-staff as authorities grieve the loss of a K-9 officer 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. 

Rush, who doesn't have a listed attorney, faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of attacking the dog.  

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