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Armed suspect, 26, killed in officer-involved shooting in Citrus Heights

Grayson Schuessler, 26, pictured here in 2016, was killed in a shootout with police after he allegedly fired at officers on July 9. // Booking photo, courtesy CHPD

Sentinel staff report–
Details continue to emerge after an officer-involved shooting in Citrus Heights on Tuesday led to a 26-year-old suspect being killed after police said he fired a revolver at officers.

Police said in a news release on Wednesday that officers responded around 7:25 p.m. on July 9 to a call regarding a handgun being fired near the area of Sunrise Boulevard and Arcadia Drive. Officers located a man running east on Greenback Lane towards the Burger King restaurant on the 8000 block of Greenback Lane.

The man reportedly was uncooperative when officers tried to make contact and continued to run. A police K9 unit was released in an effort to “safely apprehend the reportedly armed subject,” police said.

“As the K9 was running towards the suspect, the suspect turned towards the K9 and the officers while still running, and fired a shot in their direction,” police said in an updated news release Wednesday afternoon. The K9 was shot at twice “at point blank range” and the suspect then fired towards officers, according to police.

The suspect, later identified as Grayson Schuessler, of Orangevale, was subsequently shot by responding officers. He was pronounced deceased at the scene by Metro Fire personnel.

Police said one officer was almost hit by a bullet fired by the suspect, but the bullet “passed through the officer’s uniform shirt, and miraculously the officer was uninjured.”

Axel, the police dog involved, was initially thought to have been injured by a bullet wound to the head, but police later said a vet had determined that blood on the dog’s head was from the suspect and not from a gunshot wound. The canine is expected to make a full recovery.

Police said responding officers credit their K9’s actions with saving their lives and preventing “an active shooter type event” in a heavily populated area.

“We are fortunate that the immediate and heroic response of our police officers contained this situation and prevented this dangerous individual from causing further harm to our community,” Police Chief Ron Lawrence said in a statement. “This is an example of the perils police officers face on a regular basis, and I commend all who serve in this noble profession.”

In a second news release on Wednesday afternoon, police said it has been determined that the suspect had fired a bullet through a storefront window of the Macy’s store at Sunrise Mall. Although customers were inside the store at the time of the shooting, no one was injured.

Police also confirmed that a passerby’s windshield was hit by a bullet during the shooting. An occupant sustained injuries from broken glass and was taken to a hospital out of precaution, police said.

Schuessler, the deceased suspect, was found to be on felony probation for elder abuse, police said. He had also had one previous encounter with Citrus Heights police in 2014 for a traffic violation.

The gun used by Schuessler was identified as a .357 magnum revolver. He was also in possession of an airsoft gun resembling a handgun, as well as more than 20 rounds of ammunition for the revolver.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact the Citrus Heights Police Department at (916) 727-5500.

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