Utah Police Dog Hondo Killed In Line Of Duty To Be Buried In Special Coffin Bearing His Portrait
Hondo, a K-9 with Herriman City’s Police Department, was shot and killed in the line of duty and will be laid to rest with the respect he deserves in a customised casket.
The brave pooch suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the sternum while officers tried to apprehend a fugitive in Salt Lake City on February 13. The seven-year-old Belgian Malinois had joined the force back in 2015 after training in Europe.
After passing away at a nearby veterinary hospital, the police department contacted a Utah automotive body shop to create a special coffin for Hondo. Of course, they obliged.
John Ward, who runs Rawtin Garage with his friend Keith Eccles, told CNN: ‘They asked if we could get something together since we have done work on their motorcycles before.’
This marked the crew’s first casket design, and they only had 24 hours to complete it (usually, the garage would give a two-month waiting period). ‘We had a lot of pressure. I think the call came in Wednesday night. And they said [they were] bringing in a casket tomorrow morning. It’s hard work, but there’s an incredible sense of satisfaction,’ Ward added to KSL-TV.
Ward already had a relationship with the police department, having done some custom artwork on their motorcycles. In order to respectfully complete the casket, the team worked overtime (even overnight).
Soon enough, they unveiled the poignant casket via their Facebook page – gorgeously painted and bearing a beautiful portrait of Hondo (a huge focus of the project, sketched by hand by Eccles while looking at a photo of the police dog). ‘What an honor it was to paint a hero’s casket,’ they wrote.
Eccles said: ‘In a weird way, it was kind of a spiritual experience. You feel like, by the time you’re done, you really got to know Hondo.’
Hondo was ranked one of the best K-9s in Utah, even placing first in international trials back in 2018. Alongside his partner Sgt. Ben Ricks, he assisted in 100 felony arrests.
Following Hondo’s death, Chief Troy Carr said at a press conference: ‘PSD Hondo was a true warrior then his actions ensured that his loving friend and partner Ben [Ricks] would able to return home to his wife, children, and HPD family. We mourn the loss of our member of our family but we remember the sacrifice.’
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