A police officer from Paulding County, Georgia recently pulled his service weapon and shot a police K9 in the line of duty. The devastating news is making headlines due to the tragic nature of how and why this occurred.

K9 Verro, a member of the Paulding County Police Department for seven years, was responding to a call with his partner, Cpl. Brandon Kilgore. The duo was on their way to pursue a suspect who fled officers on foot.

Kilgore saw the suspect jumping fences and exited his patrol car to pursue him, leaving K9 Verro behind. During police dog training, a special bond is formed with the handler, but the dogs may get very hyper when working. This is exactly what happened with this particular incident.

Apparently, the animal was able to escape the onboard kennel, hopped into the front cabin, and exited through a partially opened window. No one realized K9 Verro was loose and no longer in the vehicle.

In the summer months, when this incident happened, K9s wear bulletproof vests are worn only in a dangerous situation so that they are easily identified.

Sgt. Ashley Henson told media, “He actually bit the deputy in the back of the leg, and as these dogs are trained, they’re trained to bite and hold, and the deputy not knowing the dog had been released, pulled his service weapon and discharged it, striking and killing K9 Verro.”

The officer suffered puncture wounds and scratches on his leg. Henson reported the agency is very sad and the incident is “heart-wrenching.”