Fang, a 2-year-old K-9 in the city of Jacksonville, Florida, was fatally shot on Sunday, September 30, while police pursued an armed suspected carjacker, reported Fox News. The dog worked on the force as a “dual-purpose bomb detector and patrol dog.”
He had been approaching the suspect when he was shot and killed. The suspect was later caught by a different K-9 and his partner on the scene, and taken into custody. The suspect’s name has not yet been released by the police. Fang’s human partner, K-9 Officer Matt Herrera, a 10-year Sheriff’s Office veteran, wasn’t injured in the incident.
Officer Christian Hancock, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman, explained that the shooting took place near Interstate 10 and Commerce Center Parkway.
According to the sheriff’s office, Fang “played a vital role keeping everyone safe at special events and football games and captured some of the most dangerous criminals in our city.”
“We will miss you, FANG,” deputies wrote on Facebook mourning the loss of the K-9 officer. “You are gone but will not be forgotten.”
The police department took to Facebook to confirm the shooting and death of the dog, citing his “end of watch date” along with a photo of Fang.
In just 12-hours, the post was flooded with more than 3,000 messages of condolence and over 17,000 reactions to the sad news.
The case is being investigated as both a homicide and a carjacking. The murder of a police dog is a third degree felony, and carries with it a punishable sentence of up to five-years in prison if convicted under Florida law, per the Florida Times Union.
According to Hancock, the whole incident started at approximately 2:30 AM, when authorities were called to the scene of the 7-Eleven convenience store at the 11900 block of Lem Turner Road on the Northside, where an armed man had stolen a red four-door sedan. Fortunately, the owner of the car was not injured in the carjacking.
Police were able to track the car’s location with the OnStar system, and took off in pursuit of the carjacker. They were also able to disable the vehicle via the system, stopping it at the site of the eventual shooting, about 18-miles from the carjacking location.
According to Hancock, the suspect abandoned the car and took off into the nearby woods on foot. Fang was sent off in pursuit of the suspect, who he quickly caught, before the suspect fired several shots, hitting and killing Fang. Police did not return fire on the suspect, who was caught by another K-9 and his officer a short while later. No information on the suspect’s condition was released.