JACKSONVILLE, Florida -- Fang, a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office police dog was shot and killed while pursuing an armed carjacking suspect Sunday on the city's Westside.
His human partner, K-9 Officer Matt Herrera wasn't injured, the Sheriff's Office said.
The suspect, whose name wasn't released, was captured by a second Sheriff's Office K-9 officer and police dog shortly after the shooting near Interstate 10 and Commerce Center Parkway.
The Sheriff's Office paid tribute to Fang in a post on the agency's Twitter page. Messages offering condolences and prayers from other law enforcement agencies as well as residents flooded in via social media.
"K-9 FANG played a vital roll keeping everyone safe at special events and football games," the Sheriff's Office posted. "He has captured some of the most dangerous criminals in #JAX. We will miss you, FANG. You are gone but will not be forgotten."
Beside a photograph of Fang, the Sheriff's Office wrote, "End of Watch 09-30-2018" on the post.
The Sheriff's Office didn't identify Fang's human partner but said more information would be released later Sunday.
Police are investigating the case both as a homicide and as a carjacking. Killing a police dog is a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison, according to Florida law.
The Sheriff's Office said the incident began about 2:30 a.m. when police responded to a report of an armed carjacking at the 7-Eleven convenience store in the 11900 block of Lem Turner Road on the Northside.
A gunman stole a red four-door sedan from the victim who wasn't injured, said Officer Christian Hancock, a Sheriff's Office spokesman.
Police tracked the car via its OnStar system. A Sheriff's Office K-9 officer then conducted a traffic stop on the car — which also was disabled by OnStar — at I-10 and Commerce Center Parkway. The suspect, whose name wasn't released, abandoned the car and ran into woods nearby, Hancock said.
Hancock said Fang was sent in after the suspect and caught him following a short chase.The suspect fired several shots killing Fang, he said.
No officers were injured. Police didn't return fire. A short time later, the other K-9 officer captured the suspect — an adult male — in the woods between I-10 and West Beaver Street, Hancock said.
Information wasn't available whether the suspect was injured.
About an hour passed between the time police received the carjacking call until the K-9 officer saw the stolen car and the shooting happened, he said.
Hancock said the Sheriff's Office will be coordinating with the State Attorney's Office regarding the charges stemming from Fang's killing.
The Florida Highway Patrol was among the law enforcement agencies offering its condolences to the Sheriff's Office.
"This morning, We mourn the loss of our K9 brother from @JSOPIO. We pray for his partner and JSO family. He was shot and killed during a pursuit of an armed carjacker. The suspect was caught, but at a very heavy price. Thank you for your service, our four-legged hero." the Highway Patrol said on Twitter.
Jacksonville Beach police said on its Twitter page: "Our hearts are with our brothers and sister of @JSOPIO after K-9 Officer Fang was shot and killed while chasing an armed carjacking suspect. Please keep #JSO in your thoughts & prayers!"
Teresa Stepzinski: (904) 359-4075
©2018 The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Visit The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Fla.) at www.jacksonville.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.