RIP KODA: Memorial Service in Honor of Slain K-9 Officer [SLIDE SHOW]

By Julie Montanaro
February 8, 2013

A K-9 shot and killed in the line of duty was remembered today with law enforcement's highest honor.

Koda was shot by a wanted man in Tallahassee last week. Today k-9 teams from all over the state came to pay their respects.

Ronn McMullen fought back tears as the sheriff handed him law enforcement's highest award ... the medal of honor ... for his k-9 partner Koda.

The 5 year old German Shepherd was shot and killed January 31st as he lunged toward a fleeing suspect with a gun in his hand.

"This is the first time we as an agency lost one of our dogs in this type of incident, so our emotions are really all over the board," said LCSO
K-9 STG Brian Pearson. "It's hard. At our last night of training Monday night. not having them there just wasn't the same. We really miss him as our partner too."

More than 500 people and dozens of canine teams from across the state came to Tallahassee to pay respects to Koda. One even made the trip from Ft. Myers.

"We lost a dog in a similar situation a couple of years ago and we had a lot of support from other handlers in the community so I just wanted to give that back." said SGT Ezra Padgham with the Ft. Myers police.

Koda's ashes are now in an urn etched with paw prints and the words "Guardian of the Night. Last Watch 1-31-13" The urn and pictures of Koda graced a table in front of the room.

A video montage of pictures flashed on the big screen as Keith Urban's song "For You" asked "Would I give my life? Could I make that sacrifice?"

A room full of tough guys collectively caught their breath when the sheriff handed McMullen a folded American flag and afterward a long line of people took turns offering McMullen a hand shake or a hug.

One veteran handler whispered on his way out the door, we're just all so grateful that Koda took that bullet and Ronn and the other deputy in the line of fire that night were spared.

The man who shot Koda is still hospitalized. The deputies returned fire that night and shot him in the head. Carlos Cespedes was initially wanted for attempted murder. Now when he's released from the hospital, he'll be facing many more charges.

Tallahassee, FL - A memorial for a Leon County Sheriff's Office K-9 killed in the line of duty took place today, February 8, 2013.

Koda was killed January 31st while protecting his partner, Deputy Ron Mcmullen and other deputies from an armed violent fugitive.

To honor Koda, there will be a memorial service today at 1:00 pm at the Tallahassee Automobile Museum in Tallahassee.
This service is open to the public.

We'll bring you complete coverage of the event tonight on eyewitness news.

Leon County Sheriff's Office Release

On January 31, 2013 LCSO K-9 “Koda” was killed while protecting his partner, Deputy Ron McMullen and other deputies from an armed violent fugitive.

“Koda” was fearless and brave, and because he gave his all that night, those deputies are alive and well. We all feel a debt of deep gratitude to “Koda” for his service and his sacrifice will never be forgotten.

To honor “Koda,” there will be a memorial service on Friday, February 8, 2013, at 1:00 p.m.

The service will take place at the Tallahassee Automobile and Collectibles Museum, 6800 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32308.
The museum is located near I-10, exit 209A.

This service is open to the public.

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