K-9 Ax and K-9 Endo, serving with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, were on the job late Friday night when deputies responded to a report of an armed carjacking.
A Lyft driver said he picked up a passenger in Sanford and drove him to his requested location, a remote location outside of Orlando, FL. The suspect reportedly held a gun to the driver’s head and forced him to get out of his white Kia Sedona minivan before stealing it (and his phone). About 15 minutes later, the stranded victim was able to flag down a passing vehicle for help.
The stolen minivan was later spotted nearby, and shortly after that, the suspect bailed out of the car and fled into a wooded area. He was spotted by a helicopter overhead and about 10 minutes after he fled into the woods, was approached by Deputy A.J. Davis and K-9 Ax. Shots rang out and Ax suffered a gunshot wound to his face.
The suspect fled deeper into the woods. Drone operators from the Volusia Sherriff’s Office Aerial Response Team provided another aerial view, along with a helicopter from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office.
The Volusia Sherriff’s Office released this harrowing video of bodycam footage from the incident. Warning: it’s graphic.
After about an hour and a half, the suspect was seen coming out of the wood line and there was an exchange of gunfire, during which K-9 Endo was also shot. Ultimately, the suspect, 21-year-old Shedrick Singleton Jr, sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was taken to hospital. He faces charges including armed carjacking and use of a deadly weapon against a police K-9.
“There is no doubt that K-9 Ax and K-9 Endo took bullets that were meant for my deputies,” Sheriff Michael Chitwood said in a media release, praising the bravery of the dogs that had to be pulled away from the suspect even after they were shot. “If the deputies would have gone into the woods, the first person to come in contact with Singleton, without a doubt, would have been shot.”
Both K-9s were back on their feet Sunday and are continuing to recover.
According to the media release, “Ax was treated at Animal Emergency Hospital Volusia in Ormond Beach, where the Daytona Beach Police Department sent its own K-9s to donate blood for him. Endo was treated at Veterinary Emergency Center of East Volusia in South Daytona.”
Endo is a previous recipient of the VSO Medal of Valor and Purple Heart after he was shot in the neck while responding to a domestic violence call on Nov. 4, 2015.
Thank goodness for these four-legged heroes!