Volusia Sheriff’s Office K-9s shot in the line of duty awarded Purple Hearts

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — Two Volusia County K-9s that were shot during the search for an armed carjacking suspect were awarded Purple Hearts by Sheriff Mike Chitwood Wednesday.

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K-9s Ax and Endo were each shot within hours of each other in September during the search for 21-year-old Shedrick Singleton, who had fled into a wooded area in Deltona after allegedly stealing a Lyft driver’s minivan at gunpoint.

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K-9 Ax was shot in the side of the face and rushed to a veterinarian by his handler, Deputy A.J. Davis.

Hours later, K-9 Endo was shot in the paw and the chin and rushed to another vet clinic by his handler, Deputy Brett Whitson.

In addition to their Purple Hearts, both K-9s received a Medal of Honor Wednesday from the Georgia-based non-profit organization Irondog K-9 International.

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During Wednesday’s ceremony, Sheriff Chitwood noted that one of the first messages he received after the incident was an offer from Irondog K-9 to cover the dogs’ medical bills.

“It was this incredible, heartwarming email saying that whatever your organization needs, whatever Endo and Ax need, we got you,” Sheriff Chitwood said. “We got medical bills, we got training - you tell us what you want.”

According to the sheriff’s office, the group has donated more than $25,000 since September for their K-9 unit’s medical bills, first aid kits, and K-9 medic training for each Volusia Sheriff’s Office K-9 handler.

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“Our job is to support these law enforcement K-9s and their handlers,” Irondog K-9′s Mitzi Nash said. “We are so excited to be able to be here for them.”

The Purple Heart for retiring K-9 Endo was actually his second. According to the Sheriff’s Office, Endo was shot in the neck in 2016 while responding to a domestic disturbance with Deputy Whitson.

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