Died – 1/10//16
Handler – Officer Ryan Davis
Canton K9 dies after being shot
A gun battle between police and a man suspected of breaking into a grocery store early Saturday morning left the suspect with a gunshot wound to his ankle and a police K-9 fighting for his life and later died. “There’s not a doubt in my mind that that dog saved officers’ lives today,” Police Chief Bruce Lawver said. Officer Ryan Davis with his K-9, Jethro, were called at 1:13 a.m. Saturday to Fishers Foods, 1272 Harrison Ave. SW, in response to a burglar alarm, said Capt. Jack Angelo. The store closed at 8 p.m. Friday. Lawver said Davis met a Fishers employee who had a key to the store and went inside. When they discovered someone entered the store through the roof, another officer escorted the employee out of the building while Davis and Jethro searched for the suspect, Lawver said. The officers also called for backup and arriving officers set up a perimeter surrounding the store, Lawver said. When the dog came across the suspected burglar, he shot the police dog, Lawver said. The suspect later was identified as Kelontre D. Barefield, 22, of Cleveland. At some point, Davis returned fire, the chief said, adding that Barefield ran out a door on the south side of the building. Barefield was greeted by other officers and began shooting at them, striking a cruiser as one officer sat behind the wheel of it and another stood outside. “He fired several times,” Lawver said. “Two officers were with that cruiser and one officer was able to return fire.” Barefield ducked into a yard outside a home in the 1200 block of Greenfield Avenue SW. Lawver said the officers stayed back. “It was an extremely dangerous situation,” Lawver said. “They did not go rushing in. They used restraint. They reacted just how they were trained. They were very smart.” A woman drove up to officers and told them she was on her cellphone with her boyfriend who was telling her he’d been shot, the chief said. Realizing her boyfriend was their suspect, they yelled for him to throw down his weapon, Lawver said. Barefield complied. He had been shot in the ankle. One of the officers, who is a certified emergency medical technician, rendered first aid to Barefield, Lawver said. Barefield was arrested and taken to Aultman Hospital, where he underwent surgery. He remained in the hospital later Saturday morning with a nonlife-threatening injury. Jethro wasn’t as lucky. The 3-year-old German shepherd has been a part of the police force for about a year. Jethro suffered several gunshot wounds, at least one to the nose and several to the body, Lawver said. The dog was rushed to the Stark County Emergency Veterinary Clinic where, later Saturday morning, His blood pressure’s up and down and they’re managing that. It seems like (the bullets) missed the vital organs, so that’s good,” Stanbro said. K9 Jethro doed Sunday morning. The dog was not wearing a bulletproof vest, Stanbro confirmed, adding that dogs typically wear the vests on “gun-specific calls.” For the more serious shots (that the dog suffered), the vest wouldn’t have helped him anyway,” Stanbro said. Officers have the shootings captured on body cameras, but that footage is not being released yet. Lawver said it is evidence and the multifaceted investigation into the incident is continuing. “As soon as we can release (the footage), we definitely want to,” he said. Three officers — Davis and the two who were in the cruiser at which Barefield fired — are on mandatory three-day paid administrative leave. The police handling of the incident will also be reviewed as the shootings are considered to be a “critical incident,” Lawver said. Reviews are standard procedure in the event of gunfire. “The officers did a tremendous job,” Lawver said. “My goodness, having a K-9 shot is bad enough. But due to using the tactics and training, no officers were shot. Even though the defendant was shot, it’s fortunate there wasn’t a loss of life. The officers showed incredible restraint, used good tactics and sound judgment.” Investigators were providing prosecutors with details. Barefield is facing charges of felonious assault on at least three law enforcement officers and the dog, as well as other charges, Lawver said. A former Canton resident, the Cleveland man had just been to jail in Stark County in July when he served time for criminal trespassing, Stark County court records show. He also went to prison in 2013 for burglary, but a charge of felony inducing panic was dropped. Cuyahoga County court records show Barefield went to prison in 2013 for a break-in and felony vandalism in Parma. The court records also show he went to prison in 2011 for robbery, and that accompanying charges of kidnapping, obstructing official business and two counts of aggravated theft were dropped. Police believe Barefield to have been alone in Saturday’s break-in, but they are trying to determine whether anyone else was with him, Angelo said. He asked that anyone with information about the incident call the detective bureau at 330-489-3144 or leave an anonymous tip on the city’s tipline by texting the word “canton” to 847411 (tip411).