According to a press release from the Braintree Police Department, officers responded to a domestic abuse call at the Braintree Village apartment complex in Braintree, Massachusetts, on June 4. When the officers arrived, they were informed the subject was armed and had fled into a wooded area. As the officers approached the gunman’s location, gunshots were exchanged at close range. The subject was later identified as 34-year-old Andrew Homen.
Braintree police chief Mark Dubois told local media outlets that officers were “ambushed” by the gunman. Officer Matthew Donaghue and Officer Billy Cushing sustained multiple gunshot wounds, while Kitt was fatally shot.
The wounded officers were released from the hospital on June 11.
According to the Braintree Police Department, the memorial service on June 22 only allowed for law enforcement and invited guests. A public vehicle procession from Braintree to Foxborough was held so the community could pay their final respects to Kitt. Many people stood along the streets or gathered outside the stadium to honor the police dog.
“K-9 Kitt heroically advanced towards the subject causing him to turn his attention away from the officers. If not for the actions of K-9 Kitt, the circumstances that afternoon could have been dramatically different,” Braintree Police said.
According to the Braintree Police, Kitt, a Belgian Malinois, was born in 2009 in Slovakia and imported into the United States by the Connecticut Canine Services. Kitt had worked together with Officer Cushing for 11 years after the team graduated from the Canine Academy.
In 2016, Kitt was awarded the Braintree Police Medal of Valor for his protection of several officers during an armed confrontation. In July 2020, Kitt and Officer Cushing tracked down a person responsible for a shooting incident at the South Shore Plaza. That incident resulted in serious injuries and a property lockdown.
“K-9 Kitt valiantly gave his life for his beloved handler (and the other officers) and died a true hero that afternoon,” Braintree Police said.
Hundreds of police officers from across Massachusetts saluted to Kitt at the Tuesday ceremony.
Quincy Police said in a Tuesday Facebook post that they covered shifts in Braintree so that Braintree officers could attend funeral services.
Cambridge Police wrote on Twitter that Deputy Superintendent Pauline Wells performed the National Anthem at the ceremony for Kitt.
Vivian La Farge and Anna Shea contributed to this report