K9 Kai had only been with the Gwinnett County Police Department for less than a year, but he quickly became a valuable member of the team. The 2-year-old Belgian Malinois served as a dual-purpose K9, assisting with narcotics detection and patrol.
But sadly, Kai’s hard work came to a halt when he was severely wounded on the job. Kai was shot and taken to an emergency vet after he and his handler, Cpl. Aaron Carlyle, responded to a situation where the suspect had a gun. The brave dog refused to give up the fight.
On May 24th, 2022, the Gwinnett County Police Department responded to a domestic incident where a man with a handgun threatened a woman. Before Kai and the police officers arrived, the armed suspect fled the scene. As a result, K9 officers and the department’s aviation unit tracked down the man.
The department located the suspect in a wooded area. Officers approached the man, accompanied by Kai. But, before the police could get too close, the man fired his gun, and Kai stepped in front of it. When the suspect’s bullet struck Kai, one of the officers opened man.
The suspect was revealed as a 17-year-old named Levi Bryan, who survived the incident and was sent to the hospital. Kai was rushed to the vet, where he was found to be in stable condition despite multiple bullet wounds.
“He’s a hero to me and the officers that were on that track that night because he took rounds that were meant for us,” Cpl. Carlyle said. “And he never wavered in his commitment to his work.”
Bryan has received several charges, including one for harming a law enforcement animal. Luckily, Kai survived the traumatic incident, but his road to recovery hasn’t been easy. As officers rushed him to the vet, they administered as much first aid as they could, giving him some breathing police.
Kai had several bullet wounds, he needed a blood and plasma transfusion, and there was a hole in one of his lungs. Later, vets decided that they had to amputate his leg to maintain his quality of life. Kai spent weeks recovering at the emergency vet, but he’s finally on his way home with Cpl. Carlyle.
“This week Kai underwent surgery that we are happy to report was a success,” the Gwinnett Police Department announced. “He is currently being cared for at home by his handler, Cpl. Carlyle.”
Kai is now doing physical therapy as he gets used to his missing leg. Cpl. Carlyle stated that even though Kai will not be returning to work, the pup will continue to live with him and be lavishly spoiled. Kai’s time as a K9 officer was brief, but he had a significant impact.