K-9 officer Jethro and his partner Officer Ryan Davis of Canton Police Department, Ohio, responded to an intruder alarm in the early hours of the morning. They had no idea at the time that it was to be their last assignment together.
Good morning. Jethro is still resting. Chris posted a new pic of him on our Instagram page @policek9association This is…
The K-9 officer along with Canton Police Department Officer Ryan Davis was responding to a burglary alarm at the Fishers Food grocery store as per ABC. Jethro quickly located the man, then-22-year-old Kelontre D. Barefield, of Cleveland, and the armed suspect opened fire.
The 3-year-old German shepherd, who had worked with Davis for a year and a half, sustained three bullet wounds. Davis returned fire and shot Barefield in the leg; Barefield was later apprehended near the store with non-life-threatening injuries, and no police officers were caught in the crossfire.
He also got 11 years for another aggravated robbery case and will serve 45 total years in prison:
“There’s not a doubt in my mind that that dog saved officers’ lives today,” Police Chief Bruce Lawver told the Canton Repository. But Jethro’s heroism came at the cost of his own life.
During the exchange, Jethro was shot three times as per The Daily Mail. No vital organs were damaged, but the bullet that hit Jethro’s snout caused devastating brain trauma. The dog was immediately transported to a veterinary hospital for urgent care.
Ohio man gets 45 years in prison after shooting dead K-9 police dog https://t.co/Mq0XUKolr3
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) August 26, 2016
Described variously in Facebook posts as a “brave soul” and a “tough guy,” Jethro resisted submitting to his injuries. He was “trying to beat this thing the way he’s used to, by fighting,” officers reported. It took a sedative to afford the stoic dog the rest he needed.
Sadly, Jethro’s injuries had done too much damage. After a 32-hour battle, the dog passed away in the morning of Jan. 10, 2016. Jethro had not been wearing a bulletproof vest when he was shot, but officers knew that bodily protection would not have prevented his fatal injuries.
Here's an update for K9 Jethro. He was shot numerous times and the bullets missed all the vital organs and bones. Brain…
“I would trade places with him in a heartbeat,” a grief-stricken Davis told CBS News.
The body of the fallen K-9 officer was wrapped in an American flag. A line of Canton police officers saluted their respect as Jethro was carried out of the veterinary clinic. The city held a funeral for Jethro at the Canton Civic Center on what would have been the dog’s third birthday; Davis sat front row with his head in his hands, unable to hide his grief.
Last update of the night. One of the problems is Jethro is refusing to rest. He's just trying to beat this thing the way…
Killing a K-9 officer is a third-degree felony. Barefield pleaded guilty and received 45 years behind bars. According to The Columbus Dispatch, he seemed “remorseful.”
Davis’s family had adopted Jethro as an 8-week-old puppy. Support from the officer’s local community flooded in after news of Jethro’s passing got out. “Officer Davis has received 2,000 letters since Jethro’s death,” Officer Eric Stanbro, head trainer of Canton Police Department’s K-9 unit, told ABC News at the time.
RIP Jethro. We will post funeral service details later tonight or tomorrow
One letter, in particular, tugged at Davis’s heartstrings. A then-11-year-old girl named Allison wrote: “I [am] sorry about Jethro. So here is my allowance for the bulletproof vests. God bless you and the dogs.”
Canton resident Beth Philley added to the fund by setting up a GoFundMe account to pay for Jethro’s vet bills and K-9 bulletproof vests. Almost 900 donors raised over $25,000, more than double Philley’s original request.
Inevitably, the time came for the bereaved officer to start the search for a new K-9 partner. Davis was introduced to over a dozen potential police dogs at the Canine for Cops Foundation in Houston, Texas. Davis bonded with another German shepherd named Tuko, a dog highly skilled in “apprehending bad guys,” said Inside Edition.
The Canton Repository shared footage of Davis traveling home with his new buddy by air from Houston; a new K-9 partner and a new beginning. Jethro the fallen officer, however, was not to be forgotten.
A year and a half after Jethro’s untimely passing, a commemorative statue was erected in the Canton memorial cemetery. “The K9 Jethro statue has finally made it to its rightful place,” the K-9 Association posted on Facebook. “It’s magnificent.”
The cemetery is open to the public, and mourners pay their respects to this day.