ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. (WJBK) - The suspect who police said shot and killed a K9 officer has been identified as the St. Clair Shores Police Department mourns the loss of their own.
Flags were lowered to half staff in St. Clair Shores for K9 officer Axe who was killed Sunday night outside Lakeside Manor on Harper Avenue. Axe was sent in after an armed suspect refused to obey police orders.
"I think we really need to appreciate what these animals do for us. Their companionship, their love, their unconditional love, it's remarkable," said Anne Mulherin-Silva, who was paying her respects to Axe.
St. Clair Shores Police were called to the banquet hall around 6:30 Sunday night. According to police, the hall was being used for a baby shower for Theoddeus Gray and his girlfriend.
There were about 70 people inside the hall but Gray was outside, holding a long gun, police said. When they arrived, he ignored their orders and ran away. That's when Axe was sent after him and he shot and killed the dog, police said.
Police shot back at Gray, killing him.
Police have not said why Gray brought a gun to the baby shower or what set him off.
Axe was trained in 2016 at K9 Academy Training Facility in Taylor, said Terry Foley.
"Axe, in the beginning, was a handful. Kind of like his owner, we called them a perfect match. They were full of energy and both of them worked well together and both of them loved each other very much," Foley said.
Late Sunday night, an incredible show of love and support sprung up at the Madison Heights vet where Axe died as K9 officers and their partners paid tribute.
Foley said Axe wasn't wearing a bullet proof vest, though it may not have mattered if he was because they don't always save lives.
"Most of these dogs don't like to wear the vests at all, they're very heavy for them, they're cumbersome," Foley said. "The officer and the dog did exactly what they were trained to do and act as quickly as they did. The dog put himself out there because the officer told him and we believe that the dog saved some human lives last night because of what he did."
The Macomb County Sheriff's Office is in charge of the investigation but are not commenting until it is complete.
Gray's family did not respond to our request for comment.