K-9 Hondo was fatally shot February 13 while assisting U.S. Marshals in apprehending a dangerous fugitive. He was a respected and beloved member of his community, and people from across the country have come together to honor his memory.
After training in Europe, K-9 Hondo served the Herriman City Police Department as a front-line service dog since 2015. During that time, he assisted in over 100 felony arrests and was one of the best working K-9s in Utah.
He was shot while protecting his partner and fellow officers from an armed fugitive.
Chief Troy Carr said in a press conference after Hondo’s death,
‘PSD Hondo was a true warrior when his actions ensured that his loving friend and partner would be able to return home to his wife, children, and HPD family. We mourn the loss of a member of our family, but remember the sacrifice.”
Hondo’s passing is a devastating loss for his community. His partner, fellow officers, and citizens of Herriman City have expressed their grief and appreciation for the hero dog’s actions. Trees in Herriman City are adorned with blue ribbons in his honor, and the police department is planning a memorial service worthy of his sacrifice.
To do that, they started by contacting Rawtin Garage. The garage had previously worked with the department to create custom artwork for their motorcycles. They formed a relationship with the city’s police officers and didn’t hesitate to help with this unusual ask.
Normally working on cars and motorcycles, Hondo’s casket was a first for the artists at Rawtin Garage. They typically have a two-month waiting period, but the team worked overtime and overnight to get the job done.
The garage posted photos of the completed casket on their Facebook page.
The custom artwork includes a portrait of Hondo sketched by artist Keith Eccles. Eccles worked through the night to ensure the artwork was exactly right. He copied Hondo’s likeness by looking at a photograph and told KSL News,
“In a weird way, it was kind of a spiritual experience. You felt like, by the time you’re done, you really got to know Hondo.”
With Hondo’s custom-painted casket completed, the police dog will be laid to rest during a memorial service on February 29. Members of the community are invited to attend. The service will be followed by a police procession through Herriman City.