CANTON, OH -- It’s a sad day for the Canton Police Department as they say goodbye to one of their K9s.
"We believe, and our Chief has even said that he believes that Jethro saved officers that day,” said K9 Trainer and Officer Eric Stanbro.
He said Jethro passed away on Sunday morning at the Stark County Veterinary Emergency Clinic. He was brought there after getting shot three times during a burglary on Saturday.
According to police, the suspect, 22-year-old Kelontre Barefield, was hiding from police inside Fishers Foods and started firing at officers when he was spotted. Officers returned fire, shooting Barefield once in the leg. He was taken to the hospital and Jethro was taken to the vet.
"He had a couple of little fractures in some of his bones near his vertebrae, but that wasn’t the issue. It was the brain. He had a traumatic brain injury,” explained Officer Stanbro.
He said Jethro’s partner, Officer Ryan Davis, was by his side as he took his last breath. He didn’t want to talk on camera, but is extremely upset by the loss. He’s had Jethro since he was a puppy.
"He lives and works with him. He's with him all day at home and all night at work,” he said.
Jethro’s tragedy has received a lot of attention on social media. Officer Stanbro said people from all over the area have been offering their condolences. He said they appreciate the support.
"He's the first dog in our department killed in the line of duty, shot in the line of duty. There have been dogs we've had some accidents with cars and things, but never malicious like this. And he definitely did some heroic actions that day and he'll never be forgotten,” he said.
For more information on Jethro and the Canton Police Department, CLICK HERE.