DALLAS, Ga. – In a tragic accident on Friday, a Georgia police K-9 was shot and killed by a deputy while pursuing a domestic dispute suspect.
Police said it was a case of mistaken identity.
The Paulding County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the K-9’s death on Monday in a Facebook post.
“K-9 Verro was the kind of working dog that any handler would dream of,” the sheriff’s office wrote. “He had a high drive to fight crime and was relentless in his work ethic.”
It all began when deputies were called to the scene of a domestic dispute in Dallas, Georgia on Friday afternoon. When they arrived at the scene, the deputies noticed a man in a vehicle that matched the description of their suspect.
When they attempted to pull the vehicle over, the deputies say that the passenger leapt out of the car and began running on foot. Corporal Brandon Kilgore is the handler for Verro, an eight-year-old Belgian Malinois. They’ve been working together for the last seven years.
“K-9 Verro was the kind of working dog that any handler would dream of.”
Cpl. Kilgore arrived at the scene and saw the suspect fleeing on foot. Kilgore hopped out of his patrol SUV but left Verro inside, as “the departmental criteria to deploy the dog had not been met.”
But Verro didn’t stay in the vehicle.
“Anyone that knew K-9 Verro knew how attached and protective he was of his handler,” the Facebook post read. “When Corporal Kilgore left his patrol vehicle chasing someone, K-9 Verro wanted to be with him as the two were inseparable.”
Officials say that Verro was able to squeeze through the partially opened kennel door that kept him separate from the rest of the vehicle. Once through, he was able to “inch his way out of the vehicle” through a window that was left partially open.
As soon as he was out of the vehicle, Verro went to work. But when he saw another deputy running, he was unable to differentiate friend from foe without his handler present. Verro gave chase and “apprehended the Deputy by grabbing the back of his leg and followed his training by biting and holding until he was commanded to release.”
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The deputy reportedly “had no idea the dog was actually a law enforcement canine,” as Verro had bitten him from behind.
“Unable to remove the dog from his leg, the Deputy followed his training, drew his service weapon and shot and killed K-9 Verro,” the post continued. “This has been a devastating incident that has shaken our office to its core.”
RIP Paulding County K-9 Verro. Killed Friday. Thank you for your service and your sacrifice. pic.twitter.com/YOYr2vO4vu
— Lynn Walton (@WaltonLynn) July 23, 2019
Prayers are being asked for by the department during this time of grief. Many people know the special bond between a handler and their dog.
“The emotional grief everyone is going through, including the Deputy who was bitten, has been overwhelming.”
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Sheriff’s Office Mourns the Loss of K-9 Verro (Paulding County, GA) It is with a very heavy heart that we announce…
The suspect was apprehended and taken into custody.
Rest in Peace, K-9 Verro. Your incredible service will never be forgotten.