A community is in mourning after one of their own, police K9 Sjaak, has died from his wounds after being shot in the line of duty. His loss has left his fellow officers heartbroken, especially his handler, Officer Justin Darby, and his family.
A shocking death
The incident happened when the suspected gunman, 39-year-old Javon Brice, opened fire on Officer Darby’s patrol car. Sjaak, who was in the car at the time, was struck three times. Unfortunately, after being rushed to the hospital, Sjaak died while in surgery. Officer Darby was not injured in the shooting.
The suspect was found in his car after officers returned fire. He had eluded police before crashing and was found with one bullet wound. After being rushed to the hospital, Brice later died from his injuries.
Heartbroken with Sjaak’s tragic death
“Our hearts are broken,” Interim La Vergne Police Chief Chip Davis said in a statement Wednesday on the department’s Facebook page. “Our K9s are members of the LPD family. Sjaak was an amazing and loyal dog. We ask everyone to keep Officer Darby, his family, and all of the La Vergne officers in your thoughts and prayers as we deal with this loss.”
A life dedicated to serving his community
Sjaak had been with the La Vergne Police Department in La Vergne, Tennessee, since 2014. A Belgian Malinois, Sjaak had chosen Officer Darby as his handler, which was department policy at the time.
“In the beginning, we let the dog choose the handlers. So, we send the office to K9 school and we let the dog actually choose them. Then they spend six weeks living together. Then they’re partnered from that point on,” Davis said.
Buried with full honors
Sjaak was buried with full honors at the Faithful Friends Pet Memorial Services in Nashville, TN. His death was the first in the line of duty for the La Vergne Police Department. As a part of the services honoring the K9, dozens of emergency vehicles escorted him to his final resting place.
A seemingly senseless shooting
The reason behind the shooting is still unclear. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigations is handling the investigation into K9 Sjaak’s death to determine the reason behind the shooting.
You can find a tribute video to the fallen K9 officer below.
Please SHARE this with your friends and family.