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Gun used to wound Hernando police dog was stolen

BROOKSVILLE — The suspect who shot at a police officer and Hernando deputies and wounded a police dog in Brooksville last week used a gun and ammunition stolen from a nearby residence a few days earlier, authorities say.

Keith Ritchie, who was fatally wounded in the gunfight with authorities on Aug. 4, burglarized a residence on the 500 block of Bell Avenue in Brooksville sometime between July 31 and Aug. 2, Brooksville police said in a media release Wednesday. He took tools, aluminum, a firearm and ammunition, police said.

No further information was immediately available.

Brooksville police responded to a domestic violence call involving Ritchie, 39, at a home at 564 Bell Ave. Officers began searching for Ritchie, and Sgt. Jason Matheson came upon a man he thought was the suspect in a parking lot on W Jefferson Street. The officer told Ritchie to identify himself, but Ritchie began shooting, Sheriff Richard Nugent said last week.

Matheson returned fire. Neither was hit.

Ritchie then ran and hid in the back yard of the house on Fort Dade Avenue. Sometime after 10 p.m., a sheriff canine named Kilo found Ritchie hiding under a tarp in a shed. Kilo latched onto Ritchie, and the dog was shot as the two struggled, deputies said.

Within seconds, deputies opened fire on Ritchie, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Kilo is recovering and is expected to be back to work as early as next week, sheriff's spokeswoman Sgt. Donna Black said Wednesday.

Had Ritchie survived, he would have been charged with attempted murder. He had been serving two years of drug offender probation. Called a career criminal by the sheriff, Ritchie had a lengthy criminal history that included at least six arrests in Florida and a criminal record in Maryland and Virginia.

Most recently, Ritchie pleaded guilty in January 2009 to possession of cocaine, possession of a concealed weapon by a felon, and fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer.

Gun used to wound Hernando police dog was stolen 08/11/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 11, 2010 9:25pm]
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