Mass. K-9 'died a true hero' protecting officers, police say
Officials credited K-9 Kitt for drawing attention away from the officers, two of whom were shot but survived
By Fred Hanson
The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Mass.
BRAINTREE, Mass. — Town officials are crediting the actions of a police officer and a police canine from preventing a more serious outcome in the June 4 shooting where two police officers were wounded and their assailant and the police dog were killed.
Mayor Charles Kokoros and Police Chief Mark Dubois gave some additional details on the incident in a joint statement issued on Friday.
"Without hesitation, our first responders put their lives on the line to protect and serve our community," Kokoros said in the statement. "We should all be proud of our men and women in law enforcement."
The mayor also thanked Brewster Ambulance for administering lifesaving care for those injured in the incident.
Patrol Officer Richard Seibert had entered the wooded area near the Braintree Village apartment complex along with Patrol Officers Matthew Donoghue and William Cushing and Cushing's canine, Kitt. They were searching for a suspect in a domestic dispute they knew was armed with multiple firearms.
"As the officers approached the suspect's position, the officers were ambushed and gunfire was exchanged at close range," the statement read. "Officers Cushing and Donoghue sustained multiple gunshot wounds and Officer Seibert, a former combat medic of the United States Army, provided immediate medical attention before the officers were transported to area hospitals or further treatment.
"Each officer displayed remarkable bravery, calm and professionalism," the statement read. "Officer Seibert was instrumental not only in helping Officers Cushing and Donoghue mitigate the threat, but also in immediately rendering aid to the injured officers. Officer Seibert's extensive training and experience certainly contributed to a more favorable outcome for the Braintree Police Department."
A 16-year veteran of the department, Seibert was injured but not shot in the incident.
Donoghue was released from Boston Medical Center the day after the shooting, while Cushing was released from South Shore Hospital on Friday.
The suspect they were seeking, Andrew Homen, 34, was shot and killed in the incident, which is under investigation by the Norfolk District Attorney's Office.
Braintree K9 Kitt 'died a true hero'
Canine Officer Kitt was mortally wounded during the incident.
"As the suspect repeatedly fired his weapon at very close range at Officers Donoghue, Cushing and Seibert, K9 Kitt heroically advanced towards the subject causing him to turn his attention away from the officers," the statement read. "If not for the actions of K9 Kitt, the circumstances that afternoon could have been dramatically different. K9 Kitt valiantly gave his life for the life of his beloved handler and his partners and died a true hero that afternoon."
Services for Kitt are being planned for next week.
Free Time Kitt. We will forever miss you and always remember the good times we shared with you buddy. You went out a lion, protecting your dad and his partners. K9 Kitt EOW: 6/4/21 #braintree #workingdog pic.twitter.com/wqdVGoRkQ0— Braintree Police Department (@BraintreePolice) June 5, 2021
A Belgian Malinois, Kitt was born in Slovakia in August 2009 and imported into the United States by Connecticut Canine Services. Kitt and Cushing attended the canine academy together and were certified upon completion. Kitt was also a member of the Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council (METRO-LEC) SWAT team, where he assisted numerous communities in the state.
Kitt specialized in tracking, locating missing people, finding crime scene evidence and apprehension. In 2016, K9 Kitt was awarded the Braintree Police Medal of Valor for his protection of several officers during an armed confrontation. Last July, Cushing and Kitt located the person responsible for a shooting incident at South Shore Plaza that resulted in serious injuries and a property lockdown.
Seibert is currently partnered with narcotics canine Lucky. He has served in the firearms unit as both an instructor and armorer. In the Army, Seibert served in the military police, as a member of a special response team and as an EMT/Medical Specialist.
Donoghue began his law enforcement career with the Duxbury Police Department in 2014 and transferred to Braintree in 2018. He is a veteran of the Army National Guard and has been the recipient of several letters of appreciation, the Life Saving Medal and the police award certificate.
Cushing has been with the Braintree Police Department for nearly 16 years. He has served as a department field training officer and is assigned to the METRO-LEC SWAT Team. He is the recipient of numerous commendations, including the Trooper George Hanna Medal of Honor, the most prestigious award for a law enforcement officer.
In the statement, all three officers expressed their thanks to their fellow officers and the community for their support.
A Go Fund Me page to benefit the three officers has raised over $72,000 as of early Monday. One to benefit the Braintree Police Working Dog Foundation has raised over $22,000.
DuBois said the public response has been overwhelming.
"Your sincere well wishes and generosity have had a positive impact department-wide and on behalf of the department I want to say 'thank you," the chief said.
(c)2021 The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Mass.