Memorials to Fallen K-9s 

The F.A.S.T. Co. donates sets of memorial cards to all partners 
 I need your help to inform me of such losses.

Dept. addresses available for those who want to send condolences to officers. See below

In Loving Memory of
December 9, 2011

Master Deputy Warren Cavanagh
Richland County Sheriff’s Office
5623 Two Notch Road
Columbia, SC 29223-7218
TEL (803) 576-3000

Police dog killed in attack
Man Hunt continues for suspect

Master Deputy Warren Cavanagh and K-9 partner Fargo. Fargo was shot and killed in an incident with a robbery suspect .

Richland County Sheriff’s deputies continue to look for the suspect they say shot at their deputies and killed one of their dogs in an early morning attempted robbery and police chase in North Columbia. The dog was hit three times and died at an emergency veterinarian's office. Deputies responded to a robbery in progress at Johnson’s market, at 5200 Monticello Road, around 2:30 a.m. Friday, according to Richland County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Chris Cowan. The community market is about one mile from I-20, near Ridgewood Park.

In an attempt to rob the market, the suspect had fired shots at an employee of the store. Officers were minutes away when that happened, Cowan said. Sheriff’s deputies spotted the suspect leaving the scene and began chasing him on foot. “The suspect was apprehended by one of our canines, but the suspect opened fire on the dog and the deputy and ... hit the canine multiple times,” Cowan said. The dog, a Belgian Malinois named Fargo, was handled by Master Deputy Warren Cavanagh.

Cavanagh was uninjured but Fargo, who was hit in his upper body, was fatally wounded. Fargo was not wearing a vest, Cowan said, but the dog may have sustained a fatal wound in an area where a vest would not have covered. “The vets are trying to make a determination (of where Fargo was hit),” Cowan said. Unlike sheriff’s deputies who ride with their vests and gear on, Cowan said it is not uncommon for police dogs to ride in patrol cars without wearing vests. “They are riding in the back of a vehicle in a very confined space,” Cowan said.  

“They can be in there for 12 hours or more so it would not be practical. But this was (also) a rapid deployment situation. Deputies were literally seconds away. Cavanagh and Fargo were on the scene within minutes. Perhaps seconds.” Deputies returned the suspect’s fire, but the suspect broke free and the chase continued. Deputies, Columbia police and the Highway Patrol are continuing to look for the suspect, described as a black male, 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing 140 to 150 pounds. He has a mustache, Cowan said, and was wearing blue jeans, a black shirt and a camouflage jacket.

Six Richland 1 schools in the area were delayed from opening for two hours. Cowan said the deputy, who came to the department in 2006 from the office of the Inspector General with the state Department of Juvenile Justice, was trying to handle the death of his dog but “needed time." This is a very difficult time for everyone,” Cowan said. “The canines are a part of the sheriff’s family. We feel that they are deputies. They go on patrol ... 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They are out there making are communities safe. They interact with kids in schools and others in the community, so they’re a very integral part of the success of our department.” Fargo was part of a team of 15 dogs, each with its own handler.   submitted by Jim Cortina, Dir. CPWDA

Deputy on slain K9 partner: ‘It’s been rough’
By MINDY LUCAS The State E-Mail

It’s still hard for Richland County Deputy Warren Cavanagh to talk about losing his best friend.
But he opened up Friday for the first time since his K9 partner, Fargo, was shot and killed during an early morning armed robbery last month in north Columbia.  “It’s been rough,” he during an interview at Sheriff’s Department headquarters. “I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.”
Today's news video
Cavanagh, a six-year veteran of the department, seemed at times stoic and reflective but at others fought to regain his composure as he talked about the Belgian Malinois police dog.  “He’s your best friend that knows what you’re saying before you say it,” he said. “He knows what you’re doing before you do it.”  Though Cavanagh would not go into detail about the incident, he did talk about the moment when he realized Fargo had been shot.  “(The suspect) was about 30 to 40 meters away from me,” he said. “I had to call him (Fargo) off ... It’s not like he laid down.”
Cavanagh said he then saw blood in the dog’s mouth and thought he’d “gotten some of the bad guy.” That’s when he realized, his partner of five years, had been shot. Cavanagh, who took the dog to the veterinarian’s office himself, said it was there that he had his final moments with Fargo.  “I did not say goodbye because saying goodbye means you’re never going to see him again,” he said. “So I said, ‘I’ll see you later.’”  Following a nine-hour manhunt, a suspect, Maurice Antwon McCreary, 21, was arrested, accused of laying in wait for and shooting at deputies. McCreary has been charged with the unlawful killing of a police dog, five counts of attempted murder and two counts of armed robbery. It is the first time Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, who has been with the department for 37 years, could recall one of their police dogs being shot and killed in the line of duty.  Cavanagh said he was surprised “but grateful” by the overwhelming show of support from the community — from those who had met Cavanagh and Fargo at demonstrations at community events to complete strangers in far away places who had only heard of Fargo’s demise.  Since the announcement of the canine’s death, the Sheriff’s Department has received thousands of letters and tens of thousands of dollars in contributions, Lott said.  “This is part of the healing process for him,” Lott said. “This is something he needed to do.”   There is more good news for the department.
A new K9 is expected to arrive next week, joining Richland County’s force of 11 other dogs.
And, Lott said, Cavanagh will be his new partner.
RCSD posted this video honoring Fargo:

Read more here:

Fargo and Cavanagh
Some people say "It's just a dog." But the law enforcement officers sitting in a Richland County Courtroom Monday know that's not true.  He was their partner, their teammate, their friend.  And although they've had two years to deal with the loss of Richland County Sheriff's Department K-9 officer Fargo, they still fought back tears of grief. "With me here is my extended family," said Deputy Oxendine, who was with Fargo and his partner, Deputy Warren Cavanagh the night he was killed. "Deputy Cavanagh lost more than a colleague, a friend that night. I've seen that dog do some amazing things."

Prosecutors say after Oxendine helped Fargo get over a fence while chasing 24-year-old Maurice Anton McCreary, he tore his ACL climbing over the same fence. Oxendine's voice broke as he fought back tears while asking Judge Robert Hood to consider the loss of Fargo while sentencing McCreary. McCreary pleaded guilty to five counts of attempted murder and the unlawful killing of a police dog Monday.  Prosecutors agreed to drop an armed robbery charge and another attempted murder charge against him. McCreary was arrested in December of 2011 after an armed robbery in North Columbia. 

As he ran from Richland County Sheriff's deputies, McCreary admitted he fired several shots at officers and shot and killed K-9 officer Fargo.  Prosecutors said at the hearing the search for McCreary was one of the biggest manhunts in county history. Sheriff Leon Lott was among the dozen deputies who attended the hearing. They asked Hood to send a message to others that there are severe consequences for shooting at a law enforcement officer. "He tried to kill them," said Lott of McCreary. "Fargo saved every one of them (the officers).  They're here today because of Fargo.  He cared about every one of them."

"I feel like K-9 Fargo was a hero that night," said a Columbia Police Officer who was also at the scene the night of the chase. "Without him, it could have been one of us." "Fargo was part of our family," Cavanagh told the judge. "Fargo did what he was trained to do.  He made the ultimate sacrifice so all of these officers could go home to their families." "I panicked. I was scared.  I freaked out a little.  I accept full responsibility," said McCreary as he apologized to Hood and the officers in the courtroom. "It was never my intention to take another life." "This has affected how some officers performed their duties moving forward," said prosecuting attorney Dan Goldman. "The job is getting more and more dangerous every day," said another prosecutor. After accepting McCreary's plea, Hood sentenced him to 35 years. McCreary faced 30 years for each attempted murder charge, which could have been ordered to run sequentially.

update: 2014

A man who killed a police K-9 pleaded guilty on Monday. In Richland County Circuit court, Maurice McCreary, 24, admitted shooting at officers and their K-9, Fargo, during a 2011 shootout. McCreary pleaded guilty to five counts of attempted murder and one count of unlawful killing of a police dog.  As part of his plea deal, McCreary’s armed robbery and attempted murder charges were dropped. Without the deal, McCreary would have been faced with the possibility of serving life in prison without parole.  McCreary was sentenced to 35 years in jail. Judge Robert Hood gave the maximum 30-year sentence for each attempted murder charge as well as the maximum five-year charge for killing a police animal. The judge decided that the attempted murder charges would be served concurrently, however, and the sentence for killing a police dog would follow.  In 2011, McCreary robbed a person a gunpoint. After Pollice were called to find him, McCreary initiated a manhunt and shot at officers a couple of times. When Fargo located McCreary hiding and held on, McCreary fired his gun and hit Fargo twice. Fargo was then rushed to the hospital, though he didn't make it The State notes that the manhunt continued and in the end, included more than 200 officers and took nine hours. McCreary was eventually found asleep in a shed.

In Loving Memory of

Handler: Officer Brian McLaughlin 
Scituate Police Department
604 Chief Justice Cushing Hwy
Scituate, MA 02066
Non-Emergency (781) 545-1212 - Fax (781) 545-9659

Scituate Police say their patrol and narcotics detection dog, K9 Felix, used in Scituate and around the South Shore, died this week. Felix, a Czechoslovakian Shepherd was with the department for five years and was considered one of their own. He had a spot on the department’s roster, and even an email address listed on the department’s website. In a statement on the department’s website: “Felix honorably served the Town of Scituate and surrounding communities for over five years with distinction as a member of the Scituate Police Department. Felix was 12 months old back in 2006, which is when he began training with his handler, K9 Officer Brian McLaughlin. Felix was born in 2005. The future of the Scituate K9 program was not immediately known. Kingston and Duxbury have K9 units. Rockland also has a unit, but the K9 officer is out on administrative leave.  submitted by Jim Cortina, Dir. CPWDA

In Loving Memory of
June 4, 2011

Handler: Deputy Kyle Hall
Eagle County Sheriff's Office
0885 E Chambers Ave.
P.O. Box 359
Eagle, CO 81631
PH:970-328-8500 -Fax: 970-328-1448 

Eagle. Co. police dog who tracked "Dumb and Dumber" bandits has died

A police dog credited with nabbing robbers and getting pounds of drugs off the street during his career died Saturday at age 13, the Eagle County Sheriff's Office said.   Fantom retired in 2010 due to a neurological condition, the Sheriff's Office said. The dog had been living with its handler, Eagle County Sheriff's Deputy Kyle Hall. "Fantom was an integral part of a number of cases," the Sheriff's Office said, including helping to track the "Dumb and Dumber" band robbers to a Vail chairlift in 2005 and once finding 16 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop. "Fantom was a proud police K9 to the end," the Sheriff's Office said, "and the Eagle County Sheriff's Office is thankful for his service."
submitted by Jim Cortina, Dir. CPWDA