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Sheriff: N.C. sheriff’s office longest-serving K-9 accidentally shot, killed by officer

“The involved officer is very distraught. We extended our sincerest apologies and deepest sympathies,” Knightdale PD said


Santos began serving in Wake County in 2016, making him the longest-serving K-9 in the department.

Wake County Sheriff’s Office

By Colleen Hammond
The News & Observer

KNIGHTDALE, N.C. — A Wake County sheriff’s K-9 was accidentally shot and killed by a Knightdale police officer early Friday morning, according to the Sheriff’s Office and Knightdale police.

Around 12:30 a.m., K9 Santos, a German shepherd, was shot while searching for a suspect after a traffic stop on North Smithfield Road.

“At some point during the track, the Knightdale officer unintentionally fired their weapon, striking the deputy’s K9,” a statement from the Knightdale Police Department stated.

Santos was rushed to the emergency clinic at N.C. State University’s Veterinary Hospital.

“Regrettably, the K9 did not survive,” a Knightdale police statement said.

The officer involved is “very distraught,” and an internal affairs investigation has been launched into the shooting, according to the statement.

Santos was known for “protecting his handler with a fierce determination,” according to the statement from the Sheriff’s Office.

Santos began serving in Wake County in 2016, making him the longest-serving K9 in the department.

“On behalf of the Wake County Board of Commissioners, I extend our deepest sympathies to the Wake County Sheriff’s Office at the passing of Canine Deputy Santos this morning in the line of duty,” Commission Chair Shinica Thomas said in a statement.

“He was so much more than a dog; he was the Sheriff’s Office’s longest-serving K9 officer, a beloved partner to his handler, and a dedicated member of the canine unit who trained for and assisted with search operations,” Thomas said. “Our hearts go out to the law enforcement community today, and our thoughts and prayers are with them in the days ahead as they grieve this tragic loss.”

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