02 November 2019

How a Bulletproof Vest Saved This Brave Police Dog’s Life

Jonesboro Police K9 Gabo didn't hesitate when he was needed to bring to an end an hours-long standoff with an armed suspect, but his devotion to his job left ...

Told him I was sorry for what was gonna happen.

Told him I loved him. (melancholic music) A five hour standoff this afternoon ends in gunfire. Two people and a K-9 shot. The suspect in that shooting is a 56 year old female. After multiple attempts and several hours of negotiating with the woman, JPD sent K-9 officer Gabo inside. The department received a call that the maintenance man had been shot at a local apartment complex. And I just happened to be in the area. She was obviously troubled, and but more importantly we thought that she was probably going to shoot again. Gabo was the only dog at the time that had a vest. I've been with the Jonesboro Police Department for 10 years. Gabo's a eight year old German Shepherd. We've been together seven years. He doesn't like to lay around the house, he doesn't like to just sit around, he likes to always be with me. He's very work driven, he loves to go to work. It was actually a training day. We were doing K-9 training that day, and I had left training to go run an errand, and I heard a shots fired call where somebody was wounded. It all started around three this afternoon when Jonesboro Police responded to a call

at the Gladiola apartments about a 41 year old male shot multiple times. I'm on the SWAT team more than my team goes, officers, my family, to go home to their families. So I made the hard decision to go get 'em. I had one of the other handlers that was with me, called the vet. Sorry. I knew in my heart what was gonna happen. It was the longest walk to walk 150 yards to my truck. I opened up the back door, reached in, started petting Gabo. Pet Gabo, told him I was sorry for what was gonna happen, told him I loved him. God. Told him I loved him, told him I was sorry for what I was gonna do to him. Gabo goes down a short hall and he's met by her. She puts the gun on him and pulls the trigger. By 8:16 he was being moved into surgery. After the surgery I guess it was closer to midnight. I wasn't leaving my partner. So the staff there set me up with pillows and blankets, told me if I needed anything to call. As everybody left I just opened his kennel and just laid there on the floor next to him for hours. Hours. Early in the morning, while I was lying there on the floor, I reached out to Sandy and just let her know

what had happened and to thank her for providing me the vest. If it wouldn't have been for her, there's no way Gabo would be here today. I heard a lot of pain in his voice, worry, and concern. And that concerned me as well because we had donated the vest for Gabo several years prior and he's considered a member of our Vested Interest in K9s family. Vested Interest in K9s is a non-profit organization nationwide, whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other equipment and services to law enforcement K-9s across the country. I'm an advocate for vests for every dog across the country that goes to work. They need it and they deserve it. They're officers just like their two legged counterparts. Their danger is unknown, it can happen at any moment. I can't even tell you the emotion that I feel knowing that he was saved by the vest. Many law enforcement agencies don't have the available funds to provide the necessary life saving equipment, which includes bullet and stab protective vests for their K-9 units. We're waiting for Sandy Marcal. This'll be the first time she's been to Arkansas, first time she's met Gabo. And how are you feeling? Both excited and nervous. Ready to let her meet Gabo and see what she,

her and her non-profit did for us. How are you? I'm good. Nice to meet you. I'm so happy to see you. Yes, you're a miracle, you know that? This night was, it's an officer down. You know, it's a K-9 officer, but, one of my officers was shot. And you know, as a chief, that's not a good feeling. So it is hard on all of us. We were very lucky that night, that the vest did what it was designed to do. Gabo is a true warrior and he has since returned back to work and doing what he loves to do. They are a great team, they have a great partnership, have a strong love for each other. And it's family. Thank you for everything. Gabo's story blew up on social media. A post's attention like that has brought letters of support, monetary donations, and even the promise of bullet proof vests for each K-9 on the Jonesboro Police Department's K-9 unit. We are conducting one of our weekly training events where we have dogs from all over Northeast Arkansas come in and train with us. I didn't think he would ever come back to work. I always thought that he'd be just sick all the time. But he progressed pretty rapidly in the recovery.

He was acting like nothing was wrong by the second day. It's been incredible to meet him and to see that he's back to work, full duty, and working with his handler, and know that he's great and he saved the lives of other officers the night that the incident occurred. That's the most important thing, that he's okay and he's back at work and he's with his handler and doing what he loves to do. Gabo has been my best friend, my family, my partner, for the last seven years. We get up and go to work every day together, we go home every night, we go on trips, we stay in hotels together. We're just inseparable. When he hurts, I hurt. If it wouldn't have been for the vest, he wouldn't be here today. And I want other dogs to have that opportunity. (upbeat music)