Man Guilty in K-9's Death, Not Guilty of Attempted Murder of Officer

June 20, 2024
A Lake Criminal Court jury found a Gary man guilty Wednesday of shooting a police K-9 and pointing his gun at an officer during a pursuit last summer.

CROWN POINT, Indiana — A Lake Criminal Court jury found a Gary man guilty Wednesday of shooting a police K-9 and pointing his gun at an officer during a pursuit last summer. However, they found him not guilty of attempted murder on the officer.

Spencer Patterson, 30, was found guilty of felony attempted battery by means of a deadly weapon, resisting law enforcement, striking a law enforcement animal and misdemeanor resisting law enforcement.

Striking a law enforcement animal and resisting law enforcement are level six felonies, which carry a possible sentence of between six months to two-and-a-half years in jail or prison. Attempted battery by means of a deadly weapon is a level five felony, which carries between one and six years in prison. He faces up to a year in jail on the misdemeanor charge.

During the two-day trial in Lake Criminal Court Judge Salvador Vasquez's courtroom, jurors heard witness testimony from police officers and a Lake County sheriff's detective, saw photos from the crime scene and listened to audio from dispatchers who communicated with officers during the incident.

Gary police Sgt. Angel Lozano tried to arrest Patterson while on shift July 13 after he received information that Patterson's car was in an area nearby and he had a warrant out for his arrest. Patterson fled the scene on foot, so Lozano and his K-9 Falco chased him down.

The dog bit Patterson, so he fired multiple fatal shots at the dog. He then shot at Lozano.

Patterson's defense attorney John Cantrell said at trial that there is no physical evidence that Patterson shot at Gary police Sgt. Angel Lozano during the chase.

Lozano testified Tuesday that he and his K-9 Falco were running after Patterson in the 1000 block of East 35th Place and Falco ran ahead of Lozano to catch up with Patterson. Falco followed Patterson into a nearby backyard.

Lozano heard several shots fired and said he located his dog in the backyard moments later, dead.

Lozano said he then heard rustling from nearby and slowly crept along the side wall of the home to the west side of the residence. He peeked around the corner of the house and saw Patterson on the ground with a black firearm, supposedly pointed straight at him.

Patterson fired, he said.

Cantrell said in a text message Thursday morning that he and Patterson maintain Patterson's innocence on that accusation, despite the fact that he respects the jury's verdict.

"There was no physical evidence to support that my client fired a gun," Cantrell said. "No shell casings were located, even after the police brought out a metal detector."

Patterson's sentencing hearing is set for July 12, Cantrell said.


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