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National
Public memorial for Pittsburgh K-9 officer Rocco
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Public memorial for Pittsburgh K-9 officer Rocco

Public memorial for Pittsburgh K-9 officer Rocco

Public memorial for Pittsburgh K-9 officer Rocco

The Pittsburgh K-9 officer stabbed during an arrest last week will be laid to rest with full honors Friday.

The funeral procession will begin at 10 a.m. and will be live streamed on WPXI.com. 

The funeral service will begin at 11 a.m. at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum.

A retired K-9 officer will lead the procession into the auditorium with bagpipes.

Tributes of remembrance will be presented by PBP K-9 Officers.

Prayers will be rendered by members of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Chaplaincy Corps.

The Lord’s Prayer will be sung by a Pittsburgh Bureau of Police officer. 

The Presentation of the Colors will be presented to Rocco’s family.

The service will be open to the public; however, the law enforcement community and public officials will be afforded priority

seating.

Rocco’s death:

Rocco and his handler, Officer Philip Lerza, were among several officers who responded to a report of a suspicious man lurking near a building, only to encounter John Lewis Rush, 21, who, unbeknownst to police, was armed with a 6-inch folding knife when he dashed into the basement of a home.

According to a criminal complaint filed, Lerza warned Rush to shout an answer to police or face the dog. Instead, Rush lunged out from near a pillar and attacked K-9 Rocco, police said.

The dog was stabbed in the back, damaging muscles and a spinal bone and lacerating a kidney.
 
The dog survived surgery and appeared to be recovering from blood loss and other injuries when he developed pneumonia. As Rocco fought, Lerza stayed by the dog's side.

Rocco died last Thursday evening. The animal succumbed to his wounds and was not euthanized, police said.

Following Rocco's death, an emotional group of K-9 handlers and their K-9 officers, along with other police officers, lined the walkway outside of the Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center.  Bagpipes played as Rocco's body was carried out of the hospital under an American flag.

 

Related story:

 

 

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