MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Investigators are working to determine why a theft and carjacking ended with the death of one of the suspects and the shooting of a police K-9 officer.

The incident began in Blaine Sunday night, where reports of theft sent police to the Kohl’s store.

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Officers say they arrived to find two men getting away in a stolen vehicle. They eventually ditched that car and carjacked another vehicle at gunpoint, leading police on a 40-mile chase to the city of Braham near Highway 65.

That’s when police say the suspects’ car was disabled and they ran for it.

An exchange of gunfire ended in one man killed, the other behind bars and a K-9 officer recovering from a gunshot wound.

Forty miles away from the city of Blaine, where this incident all began, it ended, with two suspects bailing out of the vehicle they took by gunpoint and making a run for it.

“Bravo specifically is trained in dual purposes. One is for criminal apprehension and the other is to narcotics detection,” Anoka Police Chief Eric Peterson said.

Bravo was one of the officers called in to support other agencies and when he saw the men in question, he did what he was trained to do.

“The subject from the vehicle had left the vehicle. Our canine was deployed to apprehend the subjects and at that point received a bullet wound during the exchange of gunfire,” Peterson said.

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It’s not known if a bullet from the suspect’s gun hit the four-legged officer.

(credit: CBS)

“The bullet wound entered the dog’s neck and exited out through a shoulder area,” Peterson said.

The man fleeing with the gun was shot and killed. A second man was taken into custody.

WCCO is not naming him because he has not been charged with a crime. He has a lengthy criminal history and this incident violates his probation and parole.

While investigators work to find answers, a community is standing behind its hero.

“There was over a thousand people that had made written comments on our Facebook page wishing us well,” Peterson said. “We’ve had people offer to help pay for his medical expenses. We’ve had people drop off cupcakes and offer to do a likeness portrait. It’s amazing to see the outpouring of support from the community.”

Peterson says it’s too early to say when Bravo will return to duty but he hopes it’s soon. Bravo was not wearing a protective vest when he was shot. Peterson says where he was hit would not have protected him. He is expected to recover from his injuries without surgery at home with his partner.

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Charges against the man in custody could come as soon as Tuesday.

Reg Chapman