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Police dog ‘Gage’ suffered no ill effects during tear gas standoff

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POSTED September 17, 2009 2:17 a.m.
Manteca Police canine “Gage” reportedly suffered no ill effects in the recent capture of an alleged armed bank robber who had secreted himself in the attic of a duplex in the 100 block of South Lincoln Avenue.

The canine was sent into the attic of the duplex on Sept. 5 that had been filled with numerous tear gas canisters as well as indirect gas charges.  Two robbers had fled from the Bank of America on Yosemite Avenue just prior to the noon hour with an undetermined amount of cash in a duffle bag.

It ended an 11-hour standoff when the dog was sent up a ladder and into the close quarters of an attic where the second of two Bank of America holdup men had been hiding from police.  Citizens still voiced concern this week in not knowing how the police canine fared in the capture.

Officer Dale Goforth said his dog was chosen because of the cramped quarters in the attic that the other dogs could not negotiate as well as Gage.  The officer had to climb a ladder into the attic access to put his dog up on the rafters.

The first suspect had physically crashed through a front attic vent some seven hours earlier and was pulled to the ground by SWAT team members and taken into custody on the front lawn of the residence.

“I was wearing shorts and on my hands and knees working my way through the insulation – it was pretty cramped,” he said in attempting to reach his barking partner and a screaming suspect.   

“When I got up there the suspect had him in a head lock and was pulling on the top jaw and the bottom jaw having them fully pulled apart,” the officer added.  It was believed he was trying to disable the canine by breaking his jaws.

Goforth said when he reached the struggling suspect he physically put him down on the rafters freeing Gage from his grip – although the dog had been fighting to free himself.  The suspect suffered lacerations and bites over his rib case with punctures down both arms and on a shoulder as well.  The dog also bit him in the face as a picture of the suspect going into the ambulance plainly showed.

Gage’s eyes were not affected by the tear gas, Goforth said, however he was taken to a veterinary hospital immediately to be checked out and was decontaminated of the tear gas that covered his coat.

As soon as the dog came out of the attic, his respiratory system was checked by his trainer as well as his nose and eyes, Goforth said.

Both men, Joseph Richard Keller, 26, and Elvin Jerome Brooks, 25, of Stockton were transported to San Joaquin County Jail where only one now shows up on the Sheriff’s custody log.  Elvin Brooks remains in custody with a court date of September 23.  He is being held in lieu of $275,000 bail, $25,000 of which relates to a warrant from Napa County.

His listed charges include being armed with a firearm during the commission of a felony, second degree robbery, and commercial burglary.  There is no mention of conspiracy or resisting arrest charges.
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