A prominent Florida lawyer praised two K-9 officers gunned down by a carjacking suspect over the weekend and said they may have taken the bullets intended for their handlers.
“There is no doubt that K-9 Ax and K-9 Endo took bullets which were intended for my deputies, because if the deputies had gone into the woods, the first person to come into contact with [the suspect], no doubt, would have been shot, “Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said at a press conference Saturday afternoon.
A Lyft driver told police that shortly before midnight on Friday he picked up a passenger and drove them to a remote area north of Orlando. The passenger allegedly forced the driver out of the vehicle at gunpoint, then fled. The suspect has been identified as Shedrick Singleton Jr, 21.
The stolen Kia Sedona minivan was found shortly after, and the suspect was bailed out in a wooded area.
Police released dramatic body camera footage which they said showed Deputy AJ Davis and K-9 Ax approaching the suspect around 10 minutes later. The K-9 was shot in the face after entering the wooded area looking for the suspect, police said. The dog was treated by a nearby vet 24 hours a day. K-9 Endo was also repeatedly punched and rushed to a vet for treatment.
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About an hour and a half later, police spotted the suspect emerging from the woods and moved closer, exchanging gunshots as they attempted to apprehend him, police said.
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Singleton was also hit by police gunfire and taken to the Central Florida Regional Hospital with life-threatening injuries. He faces charges of armed robbery and use of a deadly weapon against a K-9 police officer.