By Ty Wilson
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A K-9 Unit was shot to death during a Thursday night shooting, according to Leon County Sheriff's officials.
Around 8:42 p.m., deputies spotted a suspect, 31-year-old Carlos Manuel Cespedes, in the area of North Monroe Street and Fred Georgie Road. Cespedes was wanted on charges of attempted murder, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and discharging a firearm from a vehicle.
These charges stem from another shooting that happened earlier on January 31. Tallahassee police say Cespedes shot a man in the forearm; the man was reportedly having a sexual relationship with Cespedes' girlfriend.
When deputies attempted to stop Cespedes and arrest him for these charges, he sped off in a silver vehicle. Deputies followed him to 2115 Seminole Drive. That's where LCSO officials say Cespedes got out and began shooting at the responding deputies.
K-9 Deputy Ron McMullen, deployed his partner “Koda,” who was shot.
In response, Mcmullen and another deputy, Tyler Epstein, began firing at Cespedes. He was shot in the head. No other injuries was reported.
After the incident, Koda died at a local animal hospital. He was a 5 ½ year old German shepherd who had served with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office since 2008.
Sheriff Larry Campbell said, “Last night the Leon County Sheriff's Office lost a valuable member of the agency. LCSO K-9 'Koda' was killed while protecting his partner, Deputy McMullen and other deputies from an armed violent fugitive. 'Koda' was a fearless and loyal partner. He was trained to serve and protect, and that is exactly what he did.”
Epstein and McMcullen are on administrative leave, without pay, until an internal investigation is completed. This is standard Leon County Sheriff's Office policy whenever a suspect is shot by law enforcement.
The suspect, Cespedes, was taken the emergency room after the shooting. When he is released, he will be transported to the Leon County Jail.
Reprinted with permission from ABC-27