WAKE COUNTY, N.C. – A law enforcement K9 with the Wake County Sheriff’s Office was fatally shot by an officer with the Knightdale Police Department as the agencies worked together tracking a suspect early Friday morning, according to both department’s.
K9 Santos and his handler were deployed assisting the Knightdale Police Department searching for a suspect following a traffic stop about 12:30 a.m. on North Smithfield Road, WITN reported.
“At some point during the track, the Knightdale officer unintentionally fired their weapon, striking the deputy’s K9,” the Knightdale Police Department said in a statement. “Regrettably, the K9 did not survive.”
The department said the involved officer is “very distraught,” and they’ve launched an Internal Affairs investigation to determine exactly how the shooting occurred.
The Wake County Sheriff’s Office offered the following details announcing the death of K9 Santos, the longest serving canine with the department.
The entire Wake County Sheriff’s Office family is heartbroken after K9 Santos was shot and killed early this morning in the line of duty.
K9 Santos and his handler were called to assist Knightdale Police with a search for a suspect near N. Smithfield Road around 12:30 am Friday May 26th. While our deputy, K9, and a Knightdale police officer were tracking, K9 Santos was fatally wounded.
He was rushed to the emergency clinic at N.C. State University’s Veterinary Hospital, where he unfortunately died. We want to thank the veterinarians who did everything they could to help save him. Thank you to the Raleigh Police Department, Wake County ABC Officers, and all first responders who provided comfort and support.
K9 Santos, a German shepherd, was skilled in tracking and protecting his handler with a fierce determination. He gave his life to ensure the safety of our deputies and the residents of Wake County. Santos joined the Wake County Sheriff’s Office in 2016, making him the longest serving K9. We thank him for his loyalty and service.
“This loss comes during a month focused on remembering the law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice,” WCSO concluded. “Our K9s are part of our law enforcement family, and we mourn the loss of K9 Santos. The well-being of the residents of Wake County and our deputies is our top priority.”