Virginia State Police mourn shooting death of K-9

Updated: Aug. 2, 2018 at 5:35 PM EDT
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Athena is training to be an explosives-searching K-9 with Chesterfield Police. (Source: NBC12)
Athena is training to be an explosives-searching K-9 with Chesterfield Police. (Source: NBC12)

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Virginia State Police continue to mourn the death of their K-9 who was shot and killed during a chase on Wednesday.

Vader was a two-year-old narcotics detection K-9 and had just finished training last December.

"That was horrible. It was a horrible thing to happen yesterday to that officer." Chesterfield Police Sergeant Ronnie Storts said.

Virginia State Police K-9 Vader was shot and killed Wednesday in Sussex County, as police pursued a suspect wanted for murder in Connecticut.

Chesterfield Police Sergeant Ronnie Storts says he knows the bond between police and K-9s all too well.

"We have had her for about six weeks, and I have had her the whole time. We already have a good bond together. She knows when we go to my house, which is where she is kept - that's home," Storts said.

There's no doubt, Athena is a member of the family.

"She's like my child. I take care of her, she goes to the doctor. She goes to the vet," Storts said.

Athena is training to be an explosive-searching K-9 with Chesterfield Police - the first for the department.

"Her reward is working. When we get out and go to work every morning, that's her reward. That's what she is trained to do," Storts said.

They are together for up to 10 hours during the day, and then they go home to spend even more time together.

"That's what she lives to do is work. That's her job. Come to work with me," Storts said.

Storts says he might be the handler, but he's also doing the learning.

"I learn every day. She teaches me and I train her, and it's a mutual bond," Storts said.

The two have a few more weeks to complete training and schooling. They finish in November, when they will have a big graduation celebration to celebrate.

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