ROCKFORD, Ill. – An Illinois police K9 was shot and killed on Sunday while chasing a suspect who was wanted in connection to a domestic violence encounter, authorities said.
Handler/Officer Vargas and K9 Nyx of the Rockford Police Department located a domestic violence suspect from an earlier incident, the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
The suspect was identified as Malik Trotter. He was involved in an argument with a woman at an apartment and left with her phone. The woman’s son heard three gunshots fired as the man left the area, according to prosecutors, Fox News Digital reported.
Vargas and his partner spotted the suspect who hopped a fence. The handler and Nyx chased Trotter, with the police service dog catching him.
As Vargas trailed behind, he heard three gunshots. As he got closer he discovered Nyx lying next to a residence suffering from gunshot wounds.
The K9 handler then spotted Trotter across the street. Officials said the fleeing suspect opened fire on Vargas.
A gun battle ensued and Trotter sustained a gunshot wound in the leg, affording Vargas the opportunity to take him into custody. The officer was not injured.
Sadly, Nyx did not survive the shooting. He was pronounced dead a short time later.
Trotter was transported to a local hospital and was treated for his gunshot wound.
The Winnebago Boone Integrity Task for is leading the officer-involved shooting (OIS) investigation, according to Fox. No further details were immediately available.
“K-9 Nyx paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving and protecting this community,” Chief Carla Redd said in a statement. “I ask that you all keep K-9 Officer Vargas, the entire K-9 Unit, and Nyx in your thoughts and prayers. K-9 Nyx is family and we are truly thankful for her service to the Rockford Police Department.”
K9 Nyx had served the Rockford Police Department since 2018.