Sheriff's Department Gets Unsuspecting Gift from Child After K9 Gets Killed During Mall Shooting


There’s a reason kids say the darndest things: Children don’t have the filters that adults build up over decades of holding their tongues, and often cut to the heart of the matter with innocence and sincerity.

That’s probably why a hand-written letter penned by a boy in Florida is resonating with so many people.

On Christmas Eve, a K-9 named Cigo was tragically shot and killed during a dramatic police chase that took place outside of a busy shopping mall.

“This is K9 Cigo who lost his life last night protecting others,” the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office was forced to post on Christmas Day.

“We mourn the loss of this hero and we are so grateful for his service and sacrifice. Rest In Peace #K9Cigo #GoodBoy.”

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It must be incredibly hard on Cigo’s handler and everyone who worked with the furry crime fighter to face such a shock over the holidays. One kid, however, showed deep empathy in a note to the surviving officer.

“Dear Deputy Ryan, I am sorry that your dog got shot thank you for keeping me safe thank you for your service,” the powerful letter from a boy named Cooper began.

On Thursday, the sheriff’s office shared the note on Facebook, where it received many positive reactions.

“Cooper had all the questions last night after the local news. He wanted to know why someone would kill his dog when ‘he is just trying to protect us,'” the boy’s mother told the department.

“This morning first thing out of bed (Cooper asked) Mom can I write the Deputy a letter,” the boy’s parent continued. “I said sure son so while getting ready for work and in the other room he asked how to spell certain words. When I came out this was the letter he read to me.”

It would have been easy to overlook one note from a kid in a crowded and often hectic county like Palm Beach.

However, officials went out of their way to make sure the young boy knew his letter was received and appreciated.

“Well Cooper, we showed it to Deputy Ryan and he was truly moved,” the sheriff’s office posted on Facebook. “He said he ‘Loved It.’ Thank you so much for your kind words.”

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Employees at the mall where the shooting took place have created a temporary memorial to the slain K-9, while officials are working on a community tribute.

“During Monday’s incident, Cigo chased suspect Giovany Alvarez, 28, who fired multiple times, hitting the dog, deputies said. Deputies returned fire, wounding Alvarez,” The Orlando Sentinel reported.

“Two shootings left dozens of last-minute Christmas shoppers stranded after deputies locked down the mall,” according to the report.

Officials are crediting the dog’s loyalty during the mall incident as heroic.

“(R)emember, the dog did his job and he saved those officer’s lives,” Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.