Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office mourns loss of K-9 shot on Christmas Eve

(WSVN) - The holidays took a somber turn for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office after a police dog was shot and killed on Christmas Eve.

Three-year-old K-9 Cigo was honored by his partner and fellow officers Tuesday after the dog lost his life in the line of duty.

Officials said Cigo died after pursuing one of two men suspected of first-degree murder and robbery with a firearm at the Wellington Green Mall along State Road 7, Monday afternoon.

Police had developed an operation plan to apprehend suspects Justin Vazquez and 28-year-old Giovany Ramos-Alvarez in the parking lot of the mall after receiving information on their location.

According to a statement released Tuesday, Vazquez complied with the arrest once the operation was underway, but Ramos-Alvarez took off running from the scene.

Officials said Cigo was then struck by gunfire in pursuit of Ramos-Alvarez after he turned around to shoot at deputies multiple times.

Ramos-Alvarez was also struck by returning gunfire from two deputies and was subsequently transported to an area hospital where he remains in serious condition, Tuesday.

No other injuries were reported.

Meanwhile, Vazquez has since been booked at the Palm Beach County Jail.

The two deputies involved in the shooting are now on administrative leave with pay in accordance with standard department protocol.

On the life of canine Cigo, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said, “He did his job, giving his life to save and protect his own.”

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