Lifestyle & Human Interest

K9 Shot Twice While Police Chase Down Armed Suspect: 'He's a Hero to Me'


In May, the Gwinnett County Police department in Georgia was responding to a case of a dangerous, armed suspect on the run. Corporal Aaron Carlyle and his K-9 partner, Kai, were on the scene with Kai tracking the man through the woods.

Kai, 2, specializing in both narcotics and patrol, had been working with Carlyle for about a year when he approached the suspect and was shot twice: Once in the chest, and once in the hip.

“We offered what little first-aid we could to him prior to him getting here [the vet],” Carlyle said, according to WXIA-TV. “I think that’s probably the difference in why he was able to walk out of here today and us, as officers, were also able to walk out of the woods that day.”

The incident took many back to one from two years ago, when another dog, K-9 Blue, was also shot while tracking a suspect — but Blue died on the scene.

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“We’ve actually trained that scenario several times,” Carlyle explained. “I think this shows that the training worked and we were able to get Kai to where he needed to as quickly as possible.”

After doing what they could to immediately help Kai, they rushed him to their 24-hour emergency veterinarian, where he was given a blood plasma transfusion and x-rays, and staff discovered he’d also suffered a hole in his lung.

But he lived. With lots of care over several weeks, Kai pulled through, and on Tuesday as he went home with Carlyle, he was given a hero’s sendoff.

“He’s a hero to me and the other officers that were on that track that night because he took rounds that were meant for us,” Carlyle said. “And he never faltered from his job. And we went home that night to our families, and for him to be able to walk out today is amazing.”

“K9 Kai was released from the hospital today to recover at home with his handler, Cpl. Aaron Carlyle,” the Gwinnett County Police shared on Facebook. “Kai was shot multiple times while tracking a dangerous suspect last month.”

The photos they shared showed Kai walking past a clapping lineup while sporting a bright blue cast and chomping on a matching ball as he headed towards Carlyle’s vehicle.

Kai is not only an important part of the Gwinnett County team, he’s an important part of Carlyle’s life.

“They’re our partners, they’re in the cars with us,” Carlyle said. “They’re with us at our house, they come home with us. They become part of our families.”

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There’s a lot of physical therapy and healing still ahead of Kai, but his fate isn’t in jeopardy. Either way, his partner will stay by his side for life.

Even if the young, athletic dog doesn’t get back to working order, Carlyle promised that he’d keep him, and Kai would become “the most spoiled pet ever.”

“We’re taking each day one at a time and we’re only thinking good thoughts,” he said.

“There is a big support for these animals, what they do for us and what they do for the community,” he added.

“I just want to say thank you to all of those people that have showed thankfulness for his service and also our service. It means a lot to us.”

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