Canton police K9 Jethro dies after being shot by burglary suspect

CANTON, Ohio - A Canton Police K-9 died Sunday after being shot by a burglary suspect early Saturday morning while responding to a call, police said.

Three-year-old Jethro's death comes after police said early Sunday morning that their fellow K-9 officer was "slowly" recovering at Stark County Veterinary Clinic.

It is with heavy hearts that we must tell you all that we lost Jethro. He took a sudden turn for the worse and has passed. We are all still at the ER vet clinic and will get back to you in a bit.

Posted by Police K-9 Association on Sunday, January 10, 2016

According to police, officers, along with K-9 Jethro, responded to the burglary call just after 1 a.m. on Saturday at the Fisher Foods, on 1272 Harrison Ave. SW, when the suspect confronted Jethro inside the store. 

The suspect, identified by police as 22-year-old Kelontre Barefield, fired several shots at the K-9 while the dog was searching the building. Responding officers then fired back at the suspect.

Police say Barefield then fled on foot while firing several more shots at police.

Shortly after, police found Barefield in a nearby yard with one gunshot wound to the leg. According to police and hospital officials, the suspect was taken into custody and is currently at Aultman Hospital, where he is in critical condition.

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Jethro was listed in stable condition at the hospital with gunshot wounds on Saturday night. Police said three rounds struck him during the incident, but none struck vital organs and did not require surgery. 

Police also said Jethro took a round to the bridge of his nose, and although it did not penetrate, the round did cause some brain trauma. Some of the swelling in his brain had started to go down.

Early Sunday morning, before Jethro passed away, the Police K-9 Association shared in a Facebook post that Jethro was "just trying to beat this thing the way he's used to, by fighting."

Jethro had been active with the Canton Police Department for nearly two years. 

Canton Police are still investigating the burglary and no charges have been filed at this time. 

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