<figure> <img src="https://cdni.rt.com/files/2018.11/article/5bf17af4dda4c8c7468b4579.jpg"> <figcaption>Fallen K9 officer Axe. © St. Clair Shores Police Department / <span class="copyright">Free</span></figcaption> </figure> <strong>A police officer’s dog killed in the line of duty in Detroit has been hailed as a “hero” by the local mayor and given a full church memorial service, complete with traditional bagpipes. </strong> K9 officer Axe of the St. Clair Shores Police Department was killed in an incident outside a baby shower in the city, which saw cops shoot dead a man identified as Theoddeus Gray.
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An investigation into the deaths is currently underway and full details of the incident have yet to be released, according to the Detroit Free Press. However, the police dog killed in the exchange, which police say involved the deceased man brandishing a weapon and taking aim at Axe, has been honored with a full police funeral by colleagues.
The hour-long memorial was held at the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church on November 14, with a band playing bagpipes before mourning law enforcement officers led a parade of K9 unit members around Axe’s coffin.
“He died protecting his partner [Officer Tom Rice] in our community in the line of duty,” Fr Michael Varlamos said, leading the funeral. “It is just that we honor Axe.”
St. Clair Shores Mayor Kip Walby also paid tribute to the canine in a lengthy eulogy in which he labeled Axe a “hero.”
“This is a memorial service to honor a fallen hero,” he said. “On behalf of the city of St. Clair Shores, I want to extend my deepest condolences to St. Clair Shores Police Department, to Officer Tom Rice and his family for the loss of his partner, protector and friend, Axe.
“He was an officer of the law. He was committed to serving our community and paid the ultimate sacrifice.”
While some people commenting on live TV coverage of the commemoration have described it as “a waste of time,” others have commended the police department.
“To those that say he’s just a dog. He was way more than that. Thank you Officer Axe for your service. Prayers to all today,” one commenter said.
Another added: “What a beautiful service for a wonderful K9 police officer. He did his job and died in the line of duty. Rest In Paradise Officer Axe.”
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