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Remembering OPD K-9 Kobus

Posted at 6:14 PM, Jan 25, 2016

After more than 24 hours, authorities finally convinced 59-year-old Mark L’Heureux to come out of his home, but not before they say he fired more than a half dozen shots at officers and killed a police K-9.  

K-9 handlers say they made the decision to send in Kobus, because he was the fastest and most aggressive K-9 at the scene.  Kobus had been with the department since 2008 and was set to retire in March.

"He didn't want to talk and for most of the night he would not talk, so it was limiting our options on how to get him to come out peacefully,” said Chief Deputy Thomas Wheeler.

Douglas County Chief Deputy Thomas Wheeler says the SWAT team, the FBI and OPD used multiple tactics from tear gas to turning off the heat and flooding the home with water to try to get L’Heureux out of his home near 83rd and Keystone Drive. 

Wheeler says it was obvious L’Heureux was willing to put up a fight when he began firing at deputies who attempted to enter the home.

“Almost every tool in our tool box was used prior to the dog being deployed,” said Sergeant Steve Worley. 

Twenty four hours into the standoff, Sergeant Steve Worley with the K-9 unit says OPD and the SWAT team made the decision to send in nine-year-old K-9 Kobus.

Police believed L'Heureux was disoriented and possibly suffering from hypothermia.  Kobus' job was to apprehend him.

“He was probably our toughest dog in this unit,” said Sgt. Worley.

Police say L'Heureux shot Kobus when he entered the home.

“It's obviously tragic and not what we wanted, but the overriding factor is there is still human life that has to be preserved,” said Sgt. Worley.

Kobus' death has not only been hard on his handler Matt McKinney, who he had been with since 2008, but it has been hard on the entire K-9 staff.

“When one of us loses a dog, it's like another officer losing a member of their crew that they work with everyday so it's tough,” said Sgt. Worley.

Kobus gave his life to protect the men and women in blue. 

“It's tough, I had to watch Officer McKinney's kids say goodbye to Kobus. I would rather do that than have them say goodbye to Matt, to say goodbye to Officer McKinney himself and that's what makes the dog special in what they do,” said Sgt. Worley.

Mark L’Heureux is behind bars at the Douglas County Jail.  He's booked on three counts of attempted first degree murder, four counts of use of a weapon to commit a felony and one count of harassment of a police animal.

Inside his home deputies say they found four handguns, two rifles, a shot gun and two revolvers.