A Braintree Police Department K-9 named Kitt died in the line of duty while protecting his handler and fellow officers.
Town officials credited the K-9’s actions for preventing what could have been an even deadlier situation.
“Without hesitation, our first responders put their lives on the line to protect and serve our community,” Mayor Charles Kokoros said in the statement. “We should all be proud of our men and women in law enforcement.”
Kitt, along with his handler and Patrol Officer William Cushing, Officer Matthew Donoghue and Richard Seibert approached a wooded area near the Braintree Village apartment complex looking for a suspect in a domestic dispute who was armed with multiple firearms.
According to statement by the department, the officers were ambushed in close range by the assailant and gunfire was exchanged. Officer Seibert, a former combat medic of the United States Army, provided immediate medical attention to wounded officers Cushings and Donoghue before they were transported to area hospitals.
“Each officer displayed remarkable bravery, calm and professionalism,” the statement read. “Officer Seibert was instrumental not only in helping Officers Cushing and Donoghue mitigate the threat, but also in immediately rendering aid to the injured officers.
The suspect, Andrew Homen, 34, was shot and killed in the incident, which is still under investigation.
Canine officer Kitt was mortally wounded in the gunfight when he charged towards Homen, turning his attention away from the officers. The department praised Kitt’s brave actions as potentially life-saving.
“As the suspect repeatedly fired his weapon at very close range at Officers Donoghue, Cushing and Seibert, K9 Kitt heroically advanced towards the subject causing him to turn his attention away from the officers,” the statement read. “If not for the actions of K9 Kitt, the circumstances that afternoon could have been dramatically different. K9 Kitt valiantly gave his life for the life of his beloved handler and his partners and died a true hero that afternoon.”
Kitt was born in 2009 in Slovakia, and was imported to the U.S. by Connecticut Canine Services according to The Patriot Ledger. The Belgian Malinois specialized in tracking, apprehension, locating missing people, and sniffing out crime scene evidence.
In 2016, Kitt was awarded the Braintree Police Medal of Valor for his protection of several officers during an armed confrontation, and last July Cushing and Kitt tracked down the individual responsible for a shooting incident at South Shore Plaza.
Officer Kitt was saluted as his body was carried out of the hospital, and people wrote many loving messages thanking the dog’s service at the Shine Braintree Blue event at Town Hall.
Go Fund Me pages to benefit the three officers and the Braintree Police Working Dog Foundation has raised over $72,000 and $22,000 respectfully.