Salt Lake City, UT – Herriman City Police Department (HCPD) K9 Hondo was killed in the line of duty on Thursday as he was attempting to apprehend a fugitive parolee who was also a homicide suspect.
The incident began at approximately 11:45 p.m., when task force members spotted 41-year-old Brian Francis Filion leaving an apartment complex near 300 South and 445 East in the downtown area, U.S. Marshal Service for Utah Chief Deputy Brandon Holt said, according to KDBC.
The homicide suspect fled from the officers on foot, at which point HCPD Sergeant Ben Ricks deployed K9 Hondo to help apprehend him.
“When the K-9 approached, the suspect pulled out a firearm,” the U.S. Marshal’s Office said, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
When the felon drew his weapon, at least one officer opened fire, Chief Holt said.
Police found Filion dead a short while later, KDBC reported.
The wanted felon’s criminal history included charges of aggravated assault, theft, and felony drug possession, among others, the Deseret News reported.
K9 Hondo, a seven-year-old Belgian Malinois, suffered a gunshot wound to the sternum during the chase, Herriman City Police Chief Troy Carr said during a press conference on Friday afternoon.
U.S. Marshal Matthew Harris said it is unclear whether the K9 was shot by Filion or by crossfire from law enforcement, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
None of the officers were struck by gunfire, Chief Holt said.
K9 Hondo was rushed to a veterinarian hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds.
The HCPD announced K9 Hondo’s death on Friday.
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Herriman Police K9 Hondo, who was killed in the line of duty last night while assisting the U.S. Marshal’s Office in apprehending a dangerous fugitive,” the department said in a statement.
K9 Hondo had been serving his community since Oct. 29, 2015 – even longer than the HCPD has been in existence, Chief Carr told reporters.
He was certified both in patrol and narcotics detection, the department said in a Facebook video.
During his time on the streets, K9 Hondo helped seize hundreds of pounds of narcotics and made over 100 apprehensions, according to Chief Carr.
He and Sgt. Ricks were a highly-decorated team, and were widely hailed as being one of the top K9 teams in the state and throughout the country, Chief Holt said.
“The USMS sends its deepest sympathy to the Herriman Police Department on the death of its beloved K-9 and our task force colleague Hondo,” Marshal Harris told The Salt Lake Tribune in a statement. “Hondo was a warrior, and due to Hondo’s heroic actions, the lives of his human partners were likely saved today.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Herriman City Police Department and Sgt. Ricks in the loss of K9 Hondo.