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Florida deputies mourn 'a good boy,' K-9 killed on Christmas Eve

Cigo killed tracking robbery suspects to Wellington mall

Cigo, a 3-year-old Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office K-9, was shot and killed on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2019. (Image: PBSO)
Cigo, a 3-year-old Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office K-9, was shot and killed on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2019. (Image: PBSO)

WELLINGTON, Fla. – The Palm Beach Sheriff's Office is mourning the death of one of its units after a K-9 was fatally shot by a robbery suspect at a Wellington mall on Christmas eve.

The Palm Beach Post reports deputies had tracked two suspects in a robbery to the Mall at Wellington Green parking lot Monday when the confrontation occurred, leading to the officer-involved shooting.

The men involved in the shooting, Justin Vazquez, 19, and Giovany Ramos Alvarez, 28, were wanted in connection with a Dec. 7 shooting outside a Hookah Lounge that left a man in critical condition, reports the Post.

Vazquez surrendered; however, Alvarez ran and fired at deputies, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said the K-9, a 3-year-old named Cigo, was shot by Alvarez, who was returning fire. Cigo was taken to a veterinarian emergency center where he later died.

Ramos Alvarez was shot by deputies and taken to a local hospital, according to the PBSO.

“He did his job, giving his life to save and protect our own," Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said.

The Palm Beach Sheriff's Office said in a tweeted a picture of Cigo on Christmas Day, "He gave his life to save others. He’s a good boy and he will never be forgotten. Rest In Peace #K9Cigo."

The Sheriff's Office posted an emotional video after Cigo's death showing his K-9 handler receiving a round of hugs from his fellow deputies.

"The pain felt by #K9Cigo’s handler/partner is strong," PBSO said in a tweet. "Our prayers are with him tonight."

The Mall at Wellington Green has more than 160 shops and restaurants in a part of South Florida known for its equestrian community.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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