Crowd Gathers at Funeral for K-9 Stabbed on Duty

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    NEWSLETTERS

    An estimated 1,200 people attended the funeral for a Pittsburgh police dog stabbed in the line of duty.

    Rocco, the 8-year-old German Shepherd known for his unusual howl, died Jan. 30, two days after being stabbed by a fugitive suspect during an arrest.

    "His bark was so high-pitched...you knew it was Rocco and Phil coming," Officer Daniel Paga told the Pittsburg Post-Gazette

    The dog's handler, Officer Phil Lerza, was also stabbed in the shoulder. He initially requested a closed funeral, before an outpouring of public support convinced the handler and city police brass to open Friday's service to the public.
     
    The ceremony took place Friday morning at the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum in Pittsburgh.
     
    The stabbing suspect, 21-year-old John Rush, remains jailed on charges of attacking the dog and other human officers at the scene, as well as the bench warrants for which he was arrested.