K9 Jinx, killed in the Manitou shootout, remembered for saving lives; ‘he was one of us’ | Local News

Hundreds of mourners and law enforcement officers gathered Thursday for a public memorial service in honor of Jinx, the El Paso County K9 Sheriff’s Office killed in a shooting the last week in Manitou Springs.

K9 Jinx’s remains are carried by an honor guard from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.

“The night he was killed, Jinx’s actions surely saved the lives of our deputies, other officers at the scene, and many citizens of Manitou Springs,” said El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder, addressing those gathered for the 11 a.m. memorial service at New Life Church in Colorado Springs. “You should be extremely proud of Jinx for her commitment to her agency, to this community, and to you. When we lost Jinx, we lost a member of our office.

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The remains of Jinx, a K9 police dog, are carried by an honor guard from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office at the start of a memorial service Thursday.

Jinx was killed April 11, after officers responded to a late-night “threatening incident” in Manitou that ended in gunfire. Police say the suspect, later identified as 67-year-old Wilford Robert DeWeese, fired at least one shot at them. DeWeese was killed when two Manitou Springs police officers and two El Paso County sheriff’s deputies, including Jinx’s handler, Deputy Ronnie Hancock, returned fire.

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The remains of Jinx, an El Paso County K9 Sheriff’s Office, are guarded by a law enforcement officer during a 2-hour visit before her memorial service.

Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Witherite, a colleague and close friend of Deputy Hancock, spoke Thursday about the bond that develops between the partners who work together in the K9 unit. He also touched on the particular challenges of working in El Paso County, an area nearly twice the size of Rhode Island and home to nearly 750,000 people.

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“It’s really easy to see all the fun things K9 riders can do on a daily basis. What better job than showing up every day and playing with dogs? said Witherite, who — along with Hancock — is one of only two Sheriff’s Department K9 teams available to assist in a range of operations by agencies including the Colorado State Police, Bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives and the FBI. “It’s really easy to think that our job is simple, but no one but the handlers in this room know what our job is.”

The night of April 11, 2022, Witherite said, “changed the EPSO canine unit forever.”

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K9 Jinx’s remains are covered by law enforcement.

“There’s a saying we always use, ‘Paws Before Boots.’ The mindset is to use our police K9s in situations where it’s too dangerous for humans to enter first,” Witherite said. “The decision to use K9 Jinx as a less than lethal option in this situation ultimately cost Jinx her life. But Jinx proudly and unhesitatingly sacrificed her life to protect her master, the agents on the scene, and the community, which was in direct line with the suspect.

“We couldn’t be more proud than Jinx. He will forever be a hero.

Thursday’s memorial service drew officers from more than 20 law enforcement agencies along the Front Range and as far south as Trinidad, where officers had trained with the EPCSO canine unit.

Elizabeth Barker, an officer with the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak area, was present with two colleagues.

“We felt it was very important for us to come and show our support not just for Deputy Hancock and Jinx, but for all of the law enforcement agencies here, who have come together to show our support. solidarity and support for each other,” Barker said. . “I never met Jinx, but he was obviously a very smart cookie. Seems like he definitely saved lives that night, and I’m sure he did on a daily basis.

El Paso County Sheriff’s Office mourns death of police dog

In his two years at the sheriff’s office, 3-year-old Jinx has been deployed more than 100 times. Her work with Deputy Hancock located 22 suspects, six of whom Jinx was able to apprehend, and $250,000 worth of illegal narcotics.

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