(WBZ NewsRadio) — A Utah police dog is being hailed a hero after he was shot and killed while apprehending a violent fugitive.
Herriman Police K-9 Hondo, a 7-year old Belgian Malinois, will be laid to rest this coming weekend in a custom-made casket following a public memorial service. According to police, Hondo and his handler, Sgt. Ben Ricks, were one of the top K-9 teams in the state.
Throughout his career, Hondo assisted with more than 100 felony arrests and took hundreds of pounds of narcotics off the streets. Hondo was shot in the chest Feb. 13 while helping U.S. Marshals arrest a dangerous fugitive in Salt Lake City, and died after being rushed to a veterinarian hospital.
A Utah paint shop that specializes in motorcycles and classic cars got the call to honor Hondo's life. The shop's owner John Ward says he got the request because he had worked on police motorcycles. And while no one at the shop had ever designed a casket, they were motivated. "What an honor it is to paint a hero's casket," he posted on Facebook.
Twenty-four hours after getting the request, the shop's crew revealed a custom-designed, all-hand painted and airbrushed casket, with a likeness of Hondo wearing his police harness.
Hondo's public service memorial is scheduled for February 29 at the local high school.