A Massachusetts police dog that died during a shootout has been commemorated with full honours and an open casket at his funeral.
Kitt, an 11-year-old Belgian Shepherd, was shot and killed while assisting two officers who were both injured during a flurry of gunfire on 4 June, NBC10 reported.
“He took a bullet for his partner and paid the ultimate sacrifice," Diane Andre, an onlooker at the funeral paying her respects to Kitt, told the broadcaster.
The Boston Globe reported that on Tuesday a cavalcade of officers escorted the heroic canine’s casket to Gillette Stadium for a funeral service at 11am.
The pup’s coffin, draped in an American flag, was carried by uniformed pallbearers for the open-casket ceremony at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, a town about 22 miles southwest of Boston.
“He’s just a hero,” 53-year-old Karen Pettingell told The Globe. “He did a lot for the city.”
Gary Roden, who also attended the procession, added: "I think the K-9 did a lot to protect the two officers and without that K-9, there may have been worse results.”
Amid the incident on 4 June, two officers were pursuing an armed domestic violence suspect when Kitt diverted the suspect away from his handler and another officer, NBC10 said.
"During this exchange of gunfire, K-9 Kitt, Officer Cushing and Officer Matthew Donoghue each sustained multiple gunshot wounds,” Police Chief Mark Dubois said in a statement.
He added: “K-9 Kitt succumbed to his injuries, valiantly giving his life for the lives of his fellow officers."
Kitt had served Braintree police and with his partner since 2010. Brian Higgins, former chief of the Bergen County Police Department, explained to The Globe why the dog received such a grand funeral.
“I think there’s always been this tradition to give a K-9 an honors funeral if they die in the line of duty,” Mr Higgins said.
He added: “It may include some of the pomp and circumstance, but I don’t think it’s ever at the same level as a police officer.”
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