PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. – Deputies are investigating a Christmas Eve shooting near a South Florida shopping mall that killed heroic K9 Cigo.

The dog was credited with saving the life of the deputies, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw of the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office said at a news conference Monday evening.

“He did his job, giving his life to save and protect our own,” Bradshaw said.

His office tweeted that a suspect shot at deputies and hit K9 Cigo.

The suspect was shot by deputies and was taken to a hospital for treatment, as WSVN reported.

The K9 officer was being treated at a veterinarian emergency center, but The Miami Herald reported that Cigo died during surgery.

The sheriff’s office said The Mall at Wellington Green in Palm Beach County was locked down as deputies investigated the shooting.

The Mall at Wellington Green has more than 160 shops and restaurants in a part of South Florida known for its equestrian community.

In a statement Tuesday, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Therese Barbera said authorities had been searching for two suspects wanted on warrants for attempted first-degree murder and robbery with a firearm. The suspects were located Monday afternoon at the mall.

Barbera said undercover deputies secured an area of the mall parking lot and confronted the men when they came outside.

One suspect, 19-year-old Justin Vazquez, surrendered immediately. The other, 28-year-old Giovany Ramos Alvarez, took off running, Barbera said.

Three-year-old K9 Cigo pursued Alvarez. Barbera said Alvarez turned and fired multiple times, striking Cigo before two deputies returned fire, wounding the suspect.

No bystanders at the mall were injured in the shooting. Both deputies involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave with pay, according to the sheriff’s office.

Alvarez was hospitalized Tuesday in serious condition, Barbera said.

“He’s pretty well wounded,” Bradshaw said at a news conference.

Cigo was pronounced dead at an animal hospital.

“He did his job and saved those deputies’ lives,” Bradshaw told reporters.

K9 Cigo

(Graphics courtesy Rose Borisow GrafX)