Clayton County

‘Rest well buddy;’ Community remembers Clayton County K9 shot to death by 17-year-old

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — A community is celebrating the life of a K9 who was killed in the line of duty this weekend.

On Saturday, Clayton County police told Channel 2 Action News officers were called to help search for a suspect who ran from police.

During the search, Clayton County Police Department K9 Waro was released into the woods near Tara Blvd in Jonesboro to locate 17-year-old Stephon Ford after police say Ford didn’t comply with the officer’s commands to surrender.

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Police said Ford pulled out a handgun and began firing toward the officers.

One of the bullets hit the K9, who later died at the hospital.

A few hours later, authorities confirmed that Ford was located behind a gas station and was shot by officers. He died from his injuries.

According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Ford had a handgun in his hand at the time he was shot.

When the gun was inspected, it appeared it had malfunctioned while being fired.

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K9 Waro was a 2-year-old German shepherd who was born in Slovakia. He was trained in patrol and detection through Tarheel Canine before being paired with Sgt. Williams with the Clayton County Police Department in 2021.

“During his time of service with our Department, he has worked diligently to keep the citizens of this County and our officers safe,” CCPD officials said. “K-9 Waro is being recognized for his heroism and selflessness as he gave his life protecting others. He was loved by many and will be sorely missed. Thank you for your service, Waro; we have it from here. Rest well buddy, you’ve earned your wings.”

K9 Sgt. Kilgore, with the Senoia Police Department, explained that the importance of the job of a police K9 is one that only handlers and some officers understand.

“As you spend time behind a leash and you get to know these dogs, you learn that they do incredible things. Incredible feats that serve the community and their handlers. Incredible things such as protecting their handlers and never leaving their side,” Kilgore said. “While we lost a hero, the incredible sacrifice made to protect his community is one that will not be forgotten. K9 Waro, rest easy.”

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says they have been called to the scene and are investigating.

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