Police K9 murdered during ambush attack while officer sitting inside of his patrol vehicle


LA VERGNE, TN – A police K9 succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained the day following was police are calling an ambush attack on while an officer was inside inside of his patrol unit. 

Authorities say that the suspect, who was fatally shot, launched the attack that led to killing of the police K9 just as the officer was pulling out of the department parking lot. 

Here’s the details on the attack. 

On November 17th, La Vergne Police Department Officer Justin Darby had pulled out of the police station just after noon that day when a suspect pulled alongside his vehicle on Murfreesboro Road and began opening fire at the patrol unit. 

Officer Darby was not struck by any of the gunfire that unloaded toward the passenger side of the patrol unit, and then he proceeded to pursue the suspect. 

Additional officers joined in on the pursuit, and the suspect – later identified as 39-year-old Javon Brice – drove into apartment complex at Rutherford Point Circle and then allegedly exited his vehicle and opened fire on responding units. 

Police on the scene were said to have returned fire on Brice, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and then Brice got back into his vehicle and attempted to continue driving. 

Officers say that Brice ran his vehicle into a parked car in the parking lot, and the vehicle eventually came to a stop. Once officers approached the suspect’s car, they’d found that he’d suffered a single gunshot wound. 

When Brice was transported to a local hospital, he was reportedly declared deceased. 

After the incident transpired, Officer Darby has realized that K9 Sjaak  – who was inside of his kennel in Officer Darby’s unit when the suspect opened fire on his vehicle – has suffered three gunshot wounds. 

K9 Sjaak was immediately transported to an emergency veterinarian, and underwent surgery on November 18th. However, K9 Sjaak did not survive the procedure. 

Interim La Vergne Police Chief Chip Davis released a statement following the K9 officer’s passing, saying: 

“Our hearts are broken. 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.”

From the LVPD’s official Twitter account, it was conveyed that the department is collectively “overwhelmed” from the recent loss: 

“We are overwhelmed. The last 24 hours have been difficult for not only our department but especially for Officer Darby and his family. We are so thankful for everyone who took time to offer their prayers and condolences.”

In a press release from the LVPD, it was announced that K9 Sjaak will be afforded a memorial procession prior to being laid to rest, according to LVPD Public Information Officer Anne Smith: 

“We are encouraging everyone to line up in support of Officer Darby and Sjaak. The procession route will go through La Vergne along Murfreesboro Road to give Sjaak a final ride through the city that he’s served dutifully since 2014.”

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, K9 Sjaak was an 8-year-old Belgian Malinois who had faithfully served the LVPD for six years prior to being killed in the line of duty. 

La Vergne Mayor Jason Cole took to Twitter to express gratitude to whoever paid homage to K9 Sjaak, after someone left some dog toys along with an illuminated candle outside of the police station: 

“Thank you to kind citizen who dropped this off in front of the department lobby last night.”

We at Law Enforcement Today extend our most sincere condolences to those who worked alongside K9 Sjaak, knew him fondly, and of course to his handler who has now been left without his partner. 

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Earlier in November, we at Law Enforcement Today reported on the cold-blooded slaying of an officer investigating the scene of a shooting in Helena – West Helena, Arkansas. 

Here’s that previous report. 


HELENA WEST HELENA, AR – A police officer with the Helena West Helena Police Department was shot and killed on November 12th while trying to arrest a shooting suspect.  The shooting suspect later surrendered to police peacefully.

Tragedy struck the small city of Helena West Helena when two officers responded to the Delta Inn Motel in search for a suspect who was wanted for an earlier shooting.  Officers noticed the shooting suspect in a red vehicle which was attempting to leave as the officers arrived.

One of the officers used his police vehicle to block the exit and the passenger of the red vehicle, Quayshun Howard, exited the car and began firing on the officers.  The officer, Travis Wallace, was struck as Howard was allegedly taking aim at the officer.  Wallace was able to return fire as Howard got back into the vehicle and fled.

Wallace was rushed to a nearby hospital where they attempted to save his life.  Sadly, his injuries were to severe and he was pronounced at the hospital. 

Helena West Helena Police, Arkansas State Police, and the United States Marshal Service began the hunt for Howard shortly after the shooting took place.  Police were able to track him to Shaw, Mississippi where they were able to take him into custody on November 13th around 6am. 

They also located the driver/accomplice, Bruce Hillie Friday, was located near Indianola, Mississippi.  They were also able to take him into custody without incident.  Both suspects are currently being held in the Sunflower County Jail while waiting for extradition hearings.

Howard has been charged with capital murder and has additional charges pending in regard to a previous shooting investigation.  Hillie is currently being charged with hindering apprehension, it is unknown if he may face additional charges in the case.

Howard was initially being sought regarding a shooting investigation that had occurred earlier in November of this year.  In that case, victim Charles Selvy, told police that he was sitting in his home listening to music when a man entered the residence and struck him over the head.

Selvy said that after he was hit in the head, he was also shot, but apparently did not suffer any life-threatening injuries.  During the investigation, police were able to identify Howard as the shooter.

Helena West Helena Police Chief James Patrick Smith, in speaking of the capture of the alleged cop killer, said:

“We were not going to rest until those two individuals were in custody.”

Smith then spoke about Wallace, and informed everyone that not only was he a police officer, he was also a sergeant at the East Arkansas Regional Unit near Brickeys.  He also spoke highly of Wallace and his character, saying:

“He was a very ambitious, very professional officer who was very eager to help save his community.  He was a leader for our department and he’s going to be truly missed by all of his colleagues and all of the [residents] in this community.”

Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin released a statement after learning of Wallace’s passing.  He said:

“We face a new day with the knowledge that another Arkansas officer was senselessly taken from us in the line of duty.  It is intolerable.  This officer was seeking justice for a shooting victim when he was shot and killed.

“I am heartbroken for the family of the officer, the community, and the Helena-West Helena Police Department who lost one of their own.  Our officers and their families should not have to fear this type of loss, yet it is one that is increasingly more real to the law enforcement community.  I am praying for those grieving and for the killer to be brought to swift justice.” 

Wallace is survived by his mother and two young children.  Rest easy Wallace, we will take the watch from here.


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