Volusia sheriff awards Purple Hearts to K9s shot while chasing carjacking suspect

Ax and Endo recovered after September shooting

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Two Volusia K9s injured during a search for an armed carjacking suspect in September are being awarded Purple Hearts from the sheriff Wednesday morning.

K9s Ax and Endo were shot and injured in the line of duty while chasing a carjacking suspect who was fleeing deputies. Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood presented the awards recognizing their efforts during the chase.

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“I couldn’t be more proud. He did his job to the fullest and medals or not, I’m just so proud of him,” Ax’s handler Deputy AJ Davis said.

Back in September, the deputies and K9s were called to Deltona to help capture an armed carjacking suspect.

Deputy Davis and Ax arrived first and chased him down but investigators said the suspect shot Ax.

“Although seriously injured, Ax still engaged the suspect to protect his fellow deputies,” Chitwood sai.

Then Deputy Whitson and Endo went after the suspect but the office said the suspect then shot Endo in the jaw and paw.

“Despite being injured, endo continued to work. The suspect was neutralized by deputies and taken into custody,” said Chitwood.

The non-profit Iron dog K9 International immediately stepped in to pay for their medical bills. On Wednesday, the organization also awarded the two K9s Medals of Honor.

“The outpouring has been just tremendous from the folks coming in that we’ve never even met before,” Chitwood said.

K9 Ax is now back to work.

The office decided to retire 10-year-old Endo, who had already been shot in the face on a call once before. Whitson said it’s going to be a well-deserved break.

“Don’t tell him because he doesn’t know! So, he’ll still get rides in the truck but he’s going to enjoy his retirement. He’s going to enjoy camping, and riding bikes, and playing with the kids in the neighborhood,” he said.

About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined ClickOrlando.com in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.