Norfolk, Va. - Officers with Norfolk Police Department's K-9 unit walked into work on Tuesday with their flag at half staff and missing one of their own, this after K-9 Krijger was killed in the line of duty early Monday morning.
It happened after police say an armed, barricaded suspect shot and killed the 4-year old Belgian Malinois while police were trying to arrest him.
Krijger, which means "Warrior" in Dutch had served 3 years with the Norfolk Police Department.
Chief Michael Goldsmith spoke exclusively to NewsChannel 3 about the impact it has on the department.
"This is about as bad as it gets for a K-9 officer, to watch their partner go down in the line of duty," said Chief Goldsmith. "While he may not have raised his paw and swore and oath, he is still a part of our police family."
Tuesday, Norfolk K-9 handler Officer Jake Clark spoke to NewsChannel 3 about how the K-9 unit is handling the loss.
"It was an influx of emotion that I've never felt before in my life," Clark said. "During my career, we've never lost a K-9 partner so it's a completely new reaction for me and it was hurtful and I hope we never have to experience that again."
Clark has worked with the Norfolk Police Department for 8 years and joined the K-9 unit 4 years ago, that's when he got his K-9 partner Basco.
"When I got Basco, he was 11 months old, he didn't know 'sit' or 'stay', we learned everything together," Clark added. "He's my best friend."
A best friend he's appreciating a little more today.
"Today, when Basco leans on me I have a tendency to lean harder back," Clark said. "It keeps us striving forward. It keeps that bond of unity. You know when tragedy happens family comes together and we are a giant family and so we are supporting each other."
Norfolk Police will be holding a private memorial service for Krijger on Tuesday, January 19th. That private memorial service will be for the law enforcement community only and will be held at the Norfolk Police K9 Range at 2pm. An internment with full honors by the Norfolk Police Honor Guard will follow at the Garden of the Pines Pet Cemetery in Virginia Beach. Police say the public is welcome to pay their tributes along the funeral procession route.
Starting from Norfolk Police K-9 Range (6101 Cape Henry Avenue in Norfolk )
- Turn right onto Miller Store Road
- Turn right onto Burton Station Road
- Turn right onto Northampton Boulevard
- Turn left onto Kempsville Boulevard
- Continue to Princess Anne Road
- Turn right onto Salem Road
Gardens of the Pines Pet Cemetary (2685 Salem Road in Virginia Beach) will be on right.
Condolences may be sent to the Norfolk Police Department at 100 Brook Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23510.