DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Two Volusia County Sheriff’s Office K-9s are recovering after the dogs were shot on the job Friday night.
Deputies said K-9s Ax and Endo were chasing down a carjacking suspect when they were shot 90 minutes apart from each other.
On Friday night, Ax was tracking down a suspect in Deltona who was wanted in the armed carjacking of a Lyft driver. The sheriff’s office said the dog was shot in the face. The body camera on Deputy AJ Davis, Ax’s handler, showed the rush to get him to a 24-hour clinic in Ormond Beach.
“I ended up picking up AJ at LPGA and 95 and escorting him the rest of the way to the vet,” Daytona Beach Police Officer Roger Lawson said.
Lawson and his K-9, Ali, were the first team to rush to help. Once the vets got to Ax, though, they determined he needed blood. That’s when Lawson stepped up, using Ali to make the donation.
“It was eerie to see how close the two dogs were, but even my dog wasn’t acting like he normally does. He turned off the whole alpha mentality,” he said.
Davis said he’s thankful for the actions of Lawson and Ali that helped save Ax.
“I owe him a lot. He was there, he escorted me once I hit Daytona all the way to the vet. And when he got there, they needed blood, and he was there with his dog and volunteered the dog, and immediately gave a blood transfusion for surgery. And, I mean, it’s pretty, pretty remarkable,” Davis said.
As Ax received treatment, deputies in Deltona were still chasing down the suspect. Ninety minutes after Ax was shot, deputies said K9 Endo was hit in the paw during an exchange of gunfire.
Ax and Endo were with their handlers while the dogs were recovering on Tuesday. In Daytona Beach, K-9 Ali is getting some extra love.
Lawson said handlers and K-9s go through over 400 hours of training together, work their shifts together every day and most live with their handlers and their families, forming more than a bond at work.
“It’s hours and hours of training but it’s almost like going home and taking care of your child, it’s second nature. You got to do what you got to do,” he said.
In an update Wednesday, deputies said it’s their hope that both dogs will soon return to the force.
Endo will spend the next few weeks recovering from an injury to the jaw. Ax, who essentially swallowed the bullet that hit him, according to his handler, is already showing signs of improvement.
“Other than that, I mean he’s doing really well. He shows signs of himself, gets a little spunky every now and then and then kind of slows down, but he’s doing excellent, you know, regardless,” Davis said. “Again, I couldn’t tell you how much, the amount of blood that was in the back of the car, and for him to be here and, you know, he’s doing remarkably well.”
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said the armed carjacking suspect, who was shot when five deputies returned fire, remains in critical condition.
Shedrick Singleton Jr. faces charges of armed carjacking and use of a deadly weapon against a police K-9.