Officer Ryan Davis and his partner were just investigating an alarm at a grocery store in Canton, Ohio, in the early hours of January 9 when something about what they were walking into reeked of danger.
“A roof door is completely off,” Officer Davis described in the police scanner. “Shots fired! Shots fired! My partner’s been shot.”
His parter was Jethro, an almost three-year old German shepherd.
Jethro was only eight weeks old when he came into the Davis family. He grew up as both family pet and a K-9 officer.
On that morning the K-9 charged at the burglar and took three bullets. Though none of the bullets hit him in any vital organ, Jethro is said to have suffered fatal brain swelling from one bullet that struck the bridge of his nuzzle, according to his department. On Sunday, January 10, he was pronounced dead, the Huffington Post reported.
“It is with heavy hearts that we must tell you that we lost Jethro,” the Canton Police Department posted on its Facebook page that Sunday Morning, as reported by the Canton Repository. “He took a sudden turn for the worse and has passed.”
“The body of Jethro . . . was seen being saluted as he was carried out of an animal hospital and into an awaiting vehicle Sunday evening,” Huffington Post also said, citing a video released by the Police K-9 Association.
Officer Davis said the dog saved his life. “I would trade places with him in a heartbeat. . . because I wouldn’t have to sit here and suffer over the loss of him,” he told CBS News. “He’s left a hole that will never be filled. He gave his life for me.”
The City of Canton honored the K-9’s life by filling their civic center with police officers from all over the country in a ceremony for Jethro on what would have been his third birthday. Another report by the Canton Repository said “[a]bout 80 people gathered outside the city police station on Third Street SW for a vigil, holding everything from decorative house candles to handmade candleholders.”
“Jethro was truly one of Canton’s finest,” police Chaplain George Lancaster said.
Police have a suspect in custody, 22-year old Kelantre Barefield, who was also shot in his ankle. This, however, is of little consolation to Officer Davis. His hope is that Jethro is never forgotten.
“He was unconditionally loyal, loving, supportive… he was a hero,” he said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for Jethro here.
[Image from Canton Police Department/WKYC]