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Hero Down: La Vergne Police K9 Sjaak Killed In Ambush Attack

La Vergne, TN – La Vergne Police Department (LVPD) K9 Sjaak died in the line of duty on Wednesday due to gunshot wounds he suffered one day prior, according to his department.

The ambush attack occurred just after 12 p.m. on Nov. 17, as LVPD Officer Justin Darby and K9 Sjaak drove out of the department parking lot and onto Murfreesboro Road, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) said in a press release.

Another motorist abruptly pulled up alongside the passenger side of the patrol car and opened fire, according to investigators.

The shooter was later identified as 39-year-old Javon Brice, KDVR reported.

Officer Darby pursued the fleeing gunman, and was soon joined by additional officers, according to the TBI.

Brice pulled into the Rutherford Point Circle apartment complex and jumped out of his car as he allegedly opened fire on police yet again.

He got back behind the wheel as the officers returned fire, then drove further into the parking lot before hitting a parked car and stopping, according to the TBI.

“When officers approached the vehicle, they found the driver has sustained a gunshot wound,” the TBI said.

Brice was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

In the wake of the shootout, Officer Darby realized K9 Sjaak had been hit by gunfire and rushed him to an emergency veterinary clinic.

Investigators later determined multiple rounds had penetrated the door of the patrol car and K9 Sjaak’s kennel after Brice pulled up alongside the patrol vehicle and started shooting, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

No other officers were injured during the attack.

K9 Sjaak had been shot three times and was listed in critical condition, the LVPD said in a press release on Tuesday.

“[He] underwent surgery Wednesday evening but did not survive the operation,” the department confirmed in an update the following day.

“Our hearts are broken,” LVPD Interim Chief Chip Davis said in the press release. “Our K9s are members of the LPD family. Sjaak was an amazing and loyal dog. We ask everyone to keep Officer Darby, his family, and all of the La Vergne officers in your thoughts and prayers as we deal with this loss.”

K9 Sjaak, an eight-year-old Belgian Malinois, served the LVPD for six years, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

He will be buried with full honors during a memorial service that will be planned for a later date, the department said in a press release on Thursday.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the La Vergne Police Department and Officer Darby in the loss of K9 Sjaak.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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