ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) – A member of the Lithonia Police Department’s Canine Unit has been found shot and later died.
According to authorities, in the early morning hours of Aug. 28, Perro was picked up by DeKalb County Animal Control with a gunshot wound.
The gunshot wound caused significant damage to K-9 Perro and an emergency decision was made to put Perro down, Lithonia Police say.
Officer Perro first disappeared around 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon near Flakes Mill Road and River Road.
At 4:45 p.m. Monday, Lithonia Police said there was a K-9 sighting near Rockknoll Ct. who they believed was Officer Perro.
Corporal J. Patterson was Officer Perro’s handler.
“He’s very pet friendly at home but when it’s time to work he comes to work,” said Patterson. But Monday was the first day Officer Perro did not show up to work with Patterson, who is still out searching for him.
Patterson said when he went out to feed Officer Perro, he couldn’t find him.
That’s when he noticed a hole in his backyard.
“He dug a hole in the yard and put a hole through the fence and got out,” said Patterson.
Patterson said this was the first time the department’s K-9 dog has gone missing in the nearly 4 years he’s been his handler.
Lithonia Police said the search had expanded to about a 10-mile radius for a playful but critical player within the department.
“They do things that us humans can’t do, when it comes to people running from us they can sniff them out, finding drugs,” Patterson said. “Maybe someone will stop saying they’ve seen him somewhere, we’re just hoping for the best.”
Patterson said, “I didn’t sleep at all last night worrying about him but I’m hoping he comes back soon.”
The Lithonia Police Department is asking for privacy to grieve after Officer Perro’s death.
“At this time we would ask for privacy for our K9 handler Major Patterson and his family as they grieve not only for the loss of Major Patterson’s partner but a true friend and family member within his family. The Lithonia Police Department will have details of Officer Perro passing as well as service arrangements in the coming days”.
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