West Virginia police hold funeral for K-9 killed in action

West Virginia police hold funeral for K-9 killed in action

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Police in West Virginia’s capitol held a memorial service Thursday for a police dog who was killed in action over the weekend.

Axel was a K-9 with the Charleston Police Department. His funeral was held in the Grand Hall of the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center and was preceded by a two-hour visitation, The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.

The funeral started with a procession of police K-9s into the grand hall followed by a procession of the department’s human officers. Cpl. Adam Lindell read a statement from Hanna Clendenin, wife of Axel’s handler, Cpl. Josh Clendenin.

“Axel took a piece of my heart with him that night he passed away that I will never be able to get back,” the statement said. “My family and I owe him a debt that we can never repay. Because of his bravery and loyalty, I have my husband, and my children have their father. And we only wish we could still have him as well.”

Police have said the dog was shot by Samuel Paul Ranson during a pursuit Saturday night. Officers then shot and killed Ranson. The department plans to submit a full report on the shooting to the Kanawha County prosecutor’s office.

K-9 unit commander Cpl. Anthony Gaylor said after the funeral that Axel made an impact on the department in the short time he worked there.

“Axel had only got about a year of service in, but he was an exceptional dog,” Gaylor said. “He had multiple apprehensions, successful tracks and a few large drug seizures, as well. So, he was making a big impact.”

The department felt that impact more than ever Saturday, he said.

“What happened with Axel — this is what we have dogs for,” Gaylor said. “Clearly this dog helped save the life of these officers. The dogs just go above and beyond to do what we asked them to do, and to help keep us safe.”

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