HERRIMAN, Utah – A Utah paint shop that specializes in motorcycles and classic cars has designed a customized casket for a fallen police service dog, K9 Hondo of the Herriman Police Department.
The police service dog (PSD) was shot while apprehending a fugitive in Salt Lake City on February 13. K9 Hondo suffered a gunshot wound to the sternum and passed at a nearby veterinary hospital.
Herriman Police Department contacted Rawtin Garage with an urgent request for a customized casket to honor Hondo’s life—a demonstration of the depth of their love for him.
“They asked if we could get something together since we have done work on their motorcycles before,” John Ward, owner of Rawtin Garage, told CNN.
Twenty-four hours later, Rawtin revealed the special casket. Its custom design, all hand painted or airbrushed, included a portrait of Hondo wearing his police harness.
“What an honor it was to paint a hero’s casket,” the garage posted on Facebook.
The crew at Rawtin Garage specializes in custom motorcycles and classic car work. This is fittingly their first casket.
Hondo, a 7-year-old Belgian Malinois, was trained in Europe before beginning his police career in 2015, CNN reported.
The PSD and his handler, Sgt. Ben Ricks, were one of the top K9 teams in the state, according to HPD. Over his career, Hondo helped with over 100 felony arrests and took hundreds of pounds of narcotics off the streets.
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.
A press conference will be held today at 3pm at the Herriman City Hall pic.twitter.com/CuABvAmipy
— Herriman PD (@HerrimanPolice) February 14, 2020
HPD Police Chief Troy Carr held back tears while addressing reporters at a press conference February 14.
“PSD Hondo was a true warrior,” said Carr. “And his actions last night assured his loving friend and partner Ben would be able to return home to his wife, children and HPD family.”
A public memorial service for Hondo is scheduled for Saturday, February 29, at Herriman High School.
Kudos to Rawtin Garage for taking on this project. It is a worthwhile tribute!