Florida K-9s honored with Purple Hearts after being shot in line of duty

Two Florida K-9s were honored Wednesday with Purple Hearts after each suffering gunshot wounds while subjecting an armed self-capture suspect in September.

K-9s Endo and Ax with the Volusia Sheriff’s Office received the Sheriff’s Purple Heart and the Irondog K9 Medal of Honor, a nonprofit organization that supports K-9 teams across the country and helped cover the dogs’ medical bills, the sheriff. office said.

FLASHBACK: 2 FLORIDA K-9S HEALS AFTER BEING SHOT BY SUSPECTED ARMED VOTING RACKET, DEPUTIES SAY.

An ax was shot in the face while tracking the armed man in a wooded area in Deltona on September 11. Endo was shot in the foot and chin nearly two hours later when the suspect ran out of a wooden line.

Volusia County K-9 Ax, pictured left, was shot in the side of his face just after midnight, while K-9 Endo, pictured right, was shot in the foot and chin nearly two hours later during separate confrontations with the suspect.

Volusia County K-9 Ax, pictured left, was shot in the side of his face just after midnight, while K-9 Endo, pictured right, was shot in the foot and chin nearly two hours later during separate confrontations with the suspect.
(Volusia County Sheriff’s Office)

Sheriff Mike Chitwood praised both Ax and Endo following the shootings, saying there was “no doubt K-9 Ax and K-9 Endo took bullets that were meant for my deputies.”

Ax and Endo appeared along with their respective caretakers, Deputy AJ Davis and Deputy Brett Whitson, to receive the honors during the ceremony at the Deputy Stephen Saboda Training Center.

K-9 Ax, pictured left with his caretaker Deputy AJ Davis, and K-9 Endo, with his caretaker Deputy Brett Whitson, received the honors during a ceremony Wednesday.  Ax will return to service with Davis, while Endo retires after nearly a decade of service.

K-9 Ax, pictured left with his caretaker Deputy AJ Davis, and K-9 Endo, with his caretaker Deputy Brett Whitson, received the honors during a ceremony Wednesday. Ax will return to service with Davis, while Endo retires after nearly a decade of service.
(Office of Sheriff Volusia)

Endo was previously awarded the sheriff’s office Medal of Valor and Purple Heart after he was shot in the neck in response to a domestic violence call in 2016. He is retiring after nearly a decade of service.

K-9s Endo and Ax with the Volusia Sheriff's Office received the Sheriff's Purple Heart and the Medal of Honor from Irondog K9, a non-profit organization that supports K-9 teams across the country and helped cover the dogs' medical bills .

K-9s Endo and Ax with the Volusia Sheriff’s Office received the Sheriff’s Purple Heart and the Medal of Honor from Irondog K9, a non-profit organization that supports K-9 teams across the country and helped cover the dogs’ medical bills .
(Office of Sheriff Volusia)

Sheriff Mike Chitwood said one of the first messages he received after Ax and Endo were shot was from an Irondog K9 offering to cover the dogs’ medical bills.

“It was this incredible, touching email saying that whatever your organization needs, whatever Endo and Ax need, we got you,” Chitwood said. “We got medical bills, we got training – you tell us what you want.”

Deputy AJ Davis and K-9 Ax, left, and Deputy Brett Whitson and K-9 Endo, right, were reunited a day after the September shooting.

Deputy AJ Davis and K-9 Ax, left, and Deputy Brett Whitson and K-9 Endo, right, were reunited a day after the September shooting.
(Volusia County Sheriff’s Office)

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Since September, the organization has contributed more than $ 25,000 to Volusia’s Sheriff’s Office, including $ 4,000 in medical bills, $ 4,200 in first aid kits and more than $ 18,000 for a three-day K-9 physician training class for all K-9s. caretakers of the sheriff.

“Our job is to support these K-9 police officers and their caregivers, and we are so excited to be able to be here for them,” said Mitzi Nash of Irondog K9.

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