Police dogs put their lives on the line to protect their partners—sometimes even making the ultimate sacrifice. Oklahoma City police recognized this dedication when they lost one their own last week. Kye, a 3-year-old Police Department K-9, was killed while apprehending a burglary suspect on Sunday, August 24. This week, they put him rest with a full honors funeral.
Hundreds attended the funeral at First Baptist Church in Del City, where Kye’s casket was draped with an American flag and was flanked by two uniformed officers. The fallen German Shepherd also received a full eulogy and a 21-gun salute. His handler, Sgt. Ryan Stark, and family were presented with the flag and the bullet shells from the salute. Dozens of K-9 handlers from Oklahoma were also in attendance.
Stark was attempting to apprehend 22-year-old Mark Salazar, who was suspected of breaking into a car and led police on a 30-minute high-speed chase. When the pursuit continued on foot, Stark released Kye. He claims Salazar then stabbed the dog multiple times. Stark allegedly then shot the suspect, who died at a hospital the next day. The 13-year veteran of the force is under investigation for his use of deadly force.
Still, officers maintain that without Kye’s intervention, the night could have ended differently. “Without question, Kye’s sacrifice saved the life of one of the officers,” Sgt. Coy Gilbert told KOCO Oklahoma City.
(Top Photo by Sue Ogrocki—AP)