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By Greg Goss
The San Diego Union-Tribune

SAN DIEGO - The District Attorney's Office has concluded that a police officer was justified in using deadly force in January against a drunk, knife-wielding man who stabbed the officer's police dog several times.
A letter issued Wednesday by District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis cleared Officer Lawrence Adair, who fired one shot from his .45-caliber pistol at Patrick Loren Gautier outside a Talmadge motel.
"Initially, it had been thought that Officer Adair's shot had missed Mr. Gautier since his treating doctors were unable to identify a gunshot wound on his body. After reviewing Mr. Gautier's injuries, however, it is most likely he was shot in the wrist," the letter said.
Officers took Gautier into custody, but only after he had stabbed Adair's canine partner, Jake, a 2-year-old German shepherd. The dog was treated at a veterinary hospital and survived.
Gautier, 43, pleaded guilty in April to assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer.
According to the Dumanis letter, the incident began shortly before 9 p.m. on Jan. 22 at the Travelodge Motel on El Cajon Boulevard near 50th Street, where Gautier lived. The manager there called police to report a man threatening other tenants and brandishing a knife.
Officers twice fired bean-bag rounds at Gautier, hitting him both times and knocking him down. When Officer Adair approached with Jake, however, Gautier got up and charged toward them, still wielding the knife.
At that point, Adair released Jake and fired his pistol at Gautier at the same time. Adair said in a later interview that "I have no doubt in my mind he was coming to kill me."
Jake bit Gautier, who in turn stabbed the dog repeatedly. Gautier fell again and officers were able to subdue him.
Gautier is due to be sentenced Dec. 15 following a psychiatric evaluation.
He told investigators after the incident that he had been drinking heavily since the previous day because he was depressed over the death of his brother. By the time the confrontation began, he said he had already consumed several Bloody Marys at a local bar and a 12-pack of beer inside his motel room.
Toxicology tests after the incident showed Gautier with a blood-alcohol level of .23, almost three times the legal limit of .08.
The knife used by Gautier was an 8½-inch-long Old Timer brand folding buck knife with a 4-inch blade, the DA's letter said.

Wire Service
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