LA VERGNE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Two weeks ago, a LaVergne K-9 officer gave the ultimate sacrifice during a shooting on Murfreesboro Road.
K-9 officer Sjaak was hit three times with gunfire from a suspect while with his handler, Officer Justin Darby. The suspect died at the scene while Sjaak later died in surgery from his injuries.
On Tuesday, Sjaak’s final call was answered during a memorial service. Sjaak is the first La Vergne Police K-9 to be killed in the line of duty.
“Sjaak was an officer just like as well as all of us. A great loss to us. It’s going to be hard to replace him,” Interim La Vergne Police Chief Chip Davis said.
Together, Sjaak and Darby arrested 23 suspects, recovered $21,000 and seized 102 pounds of marijuana along with 9,400 pills. The pair were together for six years.
“You are the toughest, bravest, most heroic partner I’ve ever known about. At home, your job never stopped, you were my family’s protector, too,” Darby wrote in a letter that was read aloud at the service.
Darby’s family also penned a letter to “their monster” where they thanked Sjaak for guarding his partner.
“You saved my best friend. Your best friend. Our partner. You saved Kailey and Kade’s dad. You saved a son, a brother and a hero. That makes you the bravest of them all. Thank you for laying down your life so he can lay beside us,” they wrote.
Police K-9 units from multiple departments lined up to see Sjaak off after the service. Sjaak was given full honors with a flyover, 21-gun salute and a folded flag.
Davis said money has been set aside to train another K-9 officer for La Vergne Police. Davis tells News 2, when Darby is ready, they would like to keep him as a K-9 handler.
This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 and WKRN.com for updates.