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Deputies release name of Hemet man killed in officer-involved shooting

Deputies with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department released the man’s name who was killed in an officer-involved shooting in Hemet Wednesday evening after killing a K9 officer during a standoff.

The suspect was identified as 36-year-old Todd Allen Hodge of Hemet. The sheriff’s department said he was wanted on a felony weapons charge after he failed to show up to court on Monday.

Hodge had reportedly been found guilty of several burglaries and grand theft auto, deputies with the sheriff’s department said at a news conference Friday morning.

The altercation happened around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday when deputies were dispatched to the area of Mayberry Avenue and San Jacinto Avenue in search of a Hodge, who barricaded himself beneath a home.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s SWAT team made numerous attempts to get Hodge to come out, including deploying tear gas and using flashbangs. At one point they sent in a K9 officer, Sultan, and several minutes later he came out covered in blood. Sultan was taken to an animal hospital where he died from his injuries.

Sultan was with the San Jacinto Police Department since 2013. News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 were told about 50 officers gathered at the animal hospital when Sultan was brought in.

Hodge finally emerged from beneath the home holding a handgun, deputies said at the news conference.

An officer-involved shooting occurred and a deputy shot Hodge, killing him. The deputies involved were put on paid administrative leave.

Sultan is the first K9 with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department to be killed in action. Deputies said Sultan had just gotten done with a presentation for students at a San Jacinto school before being called to the standoff, where he paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Officer Luciano Colantuono is with the K9 Unit for the Palm Springs Police Department. He lost his K9 partner Ike in April of 2011. Ike was shot and killed by a suspect.

“Being able to have that partner that you know is going to have your back, you start to have that trust. The dog knows what you’re going to do, you know what the dog is going to do, you start to feed off each other,” says Colantuono.

“You have to be in it for the long haul, you can’t just want to have a 9 to 5 job. You take them home with you, they become a part of your life, you work with them at home, and they start to be a part of your family they become a part of your life,” says Colantuono.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department released this statement: “We are saddened that our San Jacinto Police K9 expired due to injuries sustained.”

The San Jacinto Police Department posted a video on their Facebook showing Sultan when he had first joined the department.

Memorial services for Sultan are still in the planning stages.

News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 will deliver more details as the investigation moves forward.

KESQ News Team

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