South Carolina Sheriff's K-9 Killed in the Line of Duty

June 21, 2024
The Richland County Sheriff’s Department is mourning the death of one of their own, after K-9 Wick died in the line of duty early Thursday morning.

RICHLAND COUNTY, South Carolina -- The Richland County Sheriff’s Department is mourning the death of one of their own, after K9 Wick died in the line of duty early Thursday morning.

Wick was hit by a vehicle during a chase, the sheriff’s department said in a news release.

The incident began at about 1 a.m. when deputies identified a stolen vehicle at Windsor Lake Boulevard and Brookfield Road, according to the release.

The deputies tried to pull over the vehicle but the driver refused to stop, leading to a pursuit on Interstate 77, the sheriff’s department said.

At the second mile marker on I-77, deputies used stop sticks and the vehicle came to a halt, but the driver then ran away, according to the release.

With the suspected car thief still in sight, K9 Specialist Zaid Abdullah deployed Wick, the sheriff’s department said. Abdullah and Wick were in pursuit when the 3-year-old Belgian Malinois’ leash broke, according to the release. Wick pulled away from Abdullah and continued across the northbound side of I-77, where he was struck by a vehicle, the sheriff’s department said.

Wick, who had been with the sheriff’s department for a year and a half, died at the scene, according to the release.

The driver of the vehicle that struck Wick was identified and South Carolina Highway Patrol will lead an investigation into the collision, according to the release.

The suspected car thief got away, but several other law enforcement agencies in the area have responded to assist in the search and an investigation is ongoing, the sheriff’s department said.

There will be a funeral procession for Wick Thursday, starting at 11 a.m., according to the release.

The sheriff’s department said the nearly 10-mile long procession will begin at 3924 Fernandina Road in Columbia, and end at 200 State Street in West Columbia.

Sheriff Leon Lott is scheduled to speak with the media about Wick’s death on Thursday afternoon.

“As the Richland County Sheriff’s Department mourns the loss of K9 Wick, we thank the community for their support,” the release said.

Prior to Wick’s death, the sheriff’s department had a K9 unit with 26 dogs and their handlers, making it one of the largest law enforcement K9 units in South Carolina.

The sheriff’s department’s team has two dogs to detect explosives; five to detect human remains; and one to detect electronics, which is commonly used in child pornography cases. The rest of the dogs are full-service, which means they are trained in multiple skills, including tracking, apprehension, article search and narcotics detection, The State previously reported.

This is the second time in little more than a week that a law enforcement K9 was killed in the line of duty in South Carolina.

On June 11, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division K9 Coba was shot in the line of duty while assisting the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office in apprehending a man who was wanted on a burglary charge.

©2024 The State. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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