Fallen Canton K9 gets hero's goodbye

Posted at 8:39 AM, Jan 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-14 17:15:33-05

He served with honor until his very last patrol.

On Thursday, Canton K-9 officer Jethro was given a hero's goodbye on what would have been his third birthday. 

Hundreds turned out for Jethro's memorial service at the Canton Civic Center. Officers from all over Northeast Ohio, Illinois and New York were among those who paid their respects to the police dog killed in the line of duty.

Jethro's handler, Officer Ryan Davis, was joined by his wife, children and a sea of men and women in blue. Several civilians also waited in cold, long lines to witness the ceremony.

Davis was handed a fallen officer's medal and plaque along with an urn containing Jethro's remains. Davis placed the urn in a police cruiser and slowly drove away. Several cops and their police dogs walked behind the vehicle as Amazing Grace played on bagpipes.

Davis said losing the dog continues to be incomprehensible to him and believes his partner saved his life.

"He was unconditionally loyal. He was unconditionally loving. He was my right hand man for the last year. He's been a member of the family since day one," Davis said. "This one is just so much deeper because I spend more time with him than I do with my family."

Canton Mayor Thomas Bernabei spoke to the crowd about Jethro's legacy.

"Jethro's legacy is to remind us all that bravery and devotion can travel on four legs and that loyalty and love can be delivered by the playful nudge of a wet nose," Bernabei said.

Jethro, a German shepherd, was shot in the line of duty last Saturday after police responded to a burglary call at the Fisher Foods on Harrison Avenue SW. 

When officers arrived, Jethro ran into the building, where he was shot at least three times by the burglary suspect, 22-year-old Kelonte Barefield

Investigators say Barefield was shot in an exchange with police and later captured. Jethro died from his injuries on Sunday.

Barefield was released from Aultman Hospital and is being held in the Stark County Jail. His bond was set at $5 million.