Florida sheriff’s deputies mourn heroic K9 named Cigo, who was shot dead taking down a ‘Latin Kings gang member’ outside a shopping mall on Christmas Eve
- Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office K9 Cigo was shot and killed by a fleeing suspect during a shootout outside of a Florida mall
- The wounded K9 still helped apprehend the suspect preventing him from taking clear shots at the deputies who shot and wounded him
- An alleged gang member, the unnamed suspect is wanted in an attempted murder case
- Cigo was mourned by a lineup of deputies after he died at the vets
Florida sheriffs are mourning the loss of a police dog shot in the line of duty while attempting to apprehend a suspect in an attempted murder.
The three-year-old German Shepherd, named Cigo, was shot chasing down a suspected Latin Kings gang member in the parking lot of the Mall at Wellington Green in Wellington, Florida, according to WPTV.
The animal, which had worked with the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office for a year, was taken to a veterinarian emergency center where he later died.
In an emotional video posted with the caption ‘RIP K9 Cigo’ to the PBSO Facebook page, sheriff’s deputies can be seen lining up outside the veterinary hospital waiting for the body of the fallen K9 as Cigo’s handler hugs his fellow officers.
At one point Cigo’s handler, overcome with grief, hugs his fellow officer.
The shootout in the mall parking lot that killed the the police dog took place when sheriff’s deputies attempted to detain the accused men away from civilians.
The three-year-old K9 Cigo was killed in the line of duty
While one of the two men spotted at the mall were wanted by authorities, a third man they met up with was of particular interest to the sheriff’s office.
‘One of them is a known gang member with the Latin Kings and the person that we were the most interested in,’ said Palm Beach Sheriff Ric Bradshaw.
When officers approached the three men outside of the mall, the alleged gang member took off running.
Cigo was released to give chase, and the suspect then turned and fired, striking the dog who still made it to the runner.
Sheriff’s deputies opened fire on the suspect now dealing with the wounded K9 on him, and he was hit multiple times about the torso.
He was taken to a local hospital where he was in critical condition.
The suspect had fired on the K9 and the deputies with a .45 caliber pistol, the same type of firearm used in the attempted murder case from weeks ago, according to the sheriff.
Law enforcement wait outside the veterinary hospital to pay tribute to the fallen K9 Cigo
Cigo’s deputy handler is embraced by his fellow officers
The K9 deputy had been Cigo’s handler for a year
‘As it stands now, we got two very dangerous people off the street,’ Sheriff Bradshaw summarized. ‘Unfortunately it took the life of one of our dogs, but he did his job, he saved the lives of the deputies.’
Sheriff Bradshaw believes that the dog bearing down on the shooter had kept him wildly shooting at the K9 and from focusing on the deputies thereby protecting them.
The mall had been put on lockdown after the shooting, but no civilians were hurt.