PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The man accused of fatally wounding a Pittsburgh Police dog and injuring several other officers as they tried to arrest him was ordered to stand trial during a preliminary hearing on Wednesday afternoon.

The reason police were looking for 21-year-old John Rush was because he was wanted for violation of an order to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law.

Pittsburgh Police Officer Phillip Lerza was one of the people who took the stand at the hearing.

Officer Lerza was Rocco the dog’s partner.

He testified that when Rocco spotted Rush in the Lawrenceville basement, the dog made a head snap to the right indicating someone was there. Seconds later, Rush came at Rocco swinging, hitting the dog in the back and face, and then came after Lerza and others.

When the fight ended, Lerza testified he noticed blood on Rocco’s face, and then reached to pet him and found wetness, which he thought was water on the floor. It turned out to be blood.

Rocco died from his injuries two days later.

Rush’s lawyer, Randall McKinney, who declined to answer questions about the case, only gave a statement

“Mr. Rush is extremely remorseful for his actions,” McKinney said. “That being said, I understand this is an emotional case, but I believe the public and everyone would be well served by reserving judgment in this matter until all of the facts come to light.”

The prosecution also added two more charges, which were also ordered held for trial: flight to avoid apprehension and escape.

Rush remains in jail without bond.

Judge Revokes Bail For Suspect In K-9 Officer’s Death (2/4/14)
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