K-9 killed, suspect injured in Fla. mall shooting

A 3-year-old K-9 named Cigo pursuing the suspect was fatally shot during the chase

By Associated Press

WELLINGTON, Fla. — A police K-9 is dead and a suspect is hospitalized after a shooting near a Florida shopping mall on Christmas Eve, authorities said.

In a statement Tuesday, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Therese Barbera said authorities had been searching for two suspects wanted on warrants for attempted first-degree murder and robbery with a firearm. The suspects were located Monday afternoon at the Wellington Green Mall.

Barbera said undercover deputies secured an area of the mall parking lot and confronted the men when they came outside.

One suspect, 19-year-old Justin Vazquez, surrendered immediately. The other, 28-year-old Giovany Ramos Alvarez, took off running, Barbera said.

A 3-year-old canine named Cigo pursued Alvarez. Barbera said Alvarez turned and fired multiple times, striking Cigo before two deputies returned fire, wounding the suspect.

No bystanders at the mall were injured in the shooting. Both deputies involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave with pay, according to the sheriff's office.

Alvarez was hospitalized Tuesday in serious condition, Barbera said.

"He's pretty well wounded," Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said at a news conference.

Cigo was pronounced dead at an animal hospital.

"He did his job and saved those deputies' lives," Bradshaw told reporters.


This is #K9Cigo who lost his life last night protecting others. We mourn the loss of this hero and we are so grateful for his service and sacrifice. Rest In Peace #K9Cigo #GoodBoy

Posted by PBSO - Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, December 25, 2018


Associated Press
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