CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga.- A 17-year-old suspect who was on the run in Georgia has died after fatally shooting a police K-9 officer. The incident occurred on Saturday when the suspect, identified as Stephon Ford, opened fire on K-9 Waro, who had pursued him into a wooded area. Ford’s refusal to obey commands to drop his firearm led to a police shooting that claimed his life.
The Jonesboro Police Department initially responded to a call regarding “suspicious activity” at a hotel, where they encountered Ford and two other individuals. While the two men were apprehended and found in possession of drug paraphernalia and weapons, Ford managed to escape and remained at large. Clayton Police officers were then called in to assist with the search for Ford, who had sought refuge in a wooded area.
During the search, K-9 Waro was deployed to track down Ford woods. However, Ford failed to comply with officers’ commands and began firing in their direction, ultimately striking and injuring Waro. The injured K-9 was immediately rushed to an animal hospital but tragically succumbed to his wounds. Thankfully, no other injuries were reported among the officers involved.
It is worth noting that just days before the incident, on August 24, the police had announced that a protective bullet and stab-proof vest had been ordered for K-9 Waro. This was made possible through a charitable donation from Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. Unfortunately, Waro never had the opportunity to wear the body armor, as the shooting occurred before it could be utilized.
The Clayton County Police Department expressed their deep sadness over the loss of K-9 Waro, emphasizing their commitment to using all available training and experience to resolve such situations peacefully. Assistant Police Chief Bruce Parks acknowledged the impact of the incident on both the law enforcement community and the suspect’s family, recognizing that it will take time for everyone involved to heal