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Knife-wielding man shot dead by San Diego officers

Willard Anthony Bradley, whose wife was found slain in their living room, advanced on officers after stabbing a police dog, authorities say.

March 21, 2009|Tony Perry

San Diego officers shot and killed a 50-year-old man who lunged at them with a 10-inch knife after his wife had made a panicky call to police for help, authorities said Friday.

Willard Anthony Bradley stabbed a police dog before advancing on officers, police said. Bradley was pronounced dead at the scene.

His 50-year-old wife, whose name was not disclosed, was found dead in the living room of their home in the Paradise Hills neighborhood.

The police dog, an 8-year-old German shepherd named Earp, was rushed to a veterinary clinic, bleeding profusely from deep wounds in his neck.

The incident began when a woman called police saying that her husband had a knife and was threatening suicide. When police arrived, the man announced that he had killed his wife and planned to kill the police, according to Lt. Terry McManus of the department's homicide unit.

A motive for the attack on the woman has not been determined, police said.

Police Chief Bill Lansdowne was at the clinic as the police dog underwent emergency surgery. The dog was within weeks of being retired from the K-9 corps.

"It was close there, but he's going to make it," Lansdowne said. "I'm going to give him a medal."

Veterinarian Rob Tugend said Earp was near death when he arrived at the clinic in the back of a police car with its lights flashing and siren blaring.

"He was pretty far gone, a couple more minutes and we'd have lost him," said Tugend, who is the Police Department's veterinarian and has treated Earp during his years with the department.

Transfusions provided blood and fluids to the dog while the blood vessel was stitched up and the bleeding finally stemmed, Tugend said.

About eight hours after surgery, Earp was released to his handler, Sgt. Jeff Havin. A follow-up visit is planned for today, Tugend said.

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tony.perry@latimes.com

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