Felon who fought officers, police dog sentenced

BANNING – An ex-con who was armed with a semi-automatic rifle and struck a Hemet police dog while trying to run away from officers was sentenced Friday, Sept. 15, to 10 years in state prison.

Kenneth Alex Hurtado, 21, pleaded guilty last month to being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, assaulting a law enforcement canine and resisting arrest.

Hurtado additionally pleaded guilty to felony charges stemming from an unrelated case.

In exchange for his admissions, prosecutors dropped several other counts. Riverside County Superior Court Judge Mark Johnson certified the terms of the plea agreement and imposed the sentence stipulated by the prosecution and defense.

According to Hemet police Lt. Eric Dickson, in the predawn hours of last Sept. 29, a Hemet K9 unit was patrolling near Acacia Avenue and Girard Street when the officer spotted a Chevrolet pickup with an expired license plate and stopped the driver, who pulled into a church parking lot.

The patrolman, along with his four-legged partner “Jack,” called for backup and approached the vehicle, immediately recognizing Hurtado, who was seated in the passenger seat, from previous encounters, Dickson said.

He said the officer noticed the defendant holding something in his lap that turned out to be a Mini 14 rifle with a high-capacity magazine protruding from it.

“The officer ordered the occupants to put their hands up. However, Hurtado jumped out of the vehicle and fled on foot,” Dickson said. “Officers and Jack pursued Hurtado and caught up with him a few houses away. Hurtado fought with the officers and the K9. But he was ultimately taken into custody.”

None of the officers, including Jack, were injured, nor was the defendant.

A search of the vehicle uncovered 150 rounds of ammunition for the rifle, according to the lieutenant.

Court records show Hurtado has a prior conviction for assault.

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