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Suspect shot dead after shooting, killing Lake Wales Police K-9

DV suspect shot, killed during incident: LWPD Chief Chris Velasquez
K9 Team Joyner Max.png
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Posted at 11:55 AM, Aug 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-04 11:06:33-04

A Lake Wales Police Department (LWPD) K-9 was shot and killed during an officer-involved shooting Wednesday morning, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office (PCSO).

The PCSO said the LWPD K-9, Max, was "murdered by a violent suspect." Later in the day, Lake Wales Police Chief Chris Velasquez released more information about what led to Max's death.

According to Velasquez, a woman called 911 shortly after 5 a.m. to report a domestic violence incident.

"I need police down here. A guy I was dating dragged me on the ground and hit my head on the road. Now he's out here shooting with a gun," the woman could be heard in a recording played during Wednesday's press conference.

For an unknown reason, Velasquez said, 57-year-old Earnest Borders left the woman's residence and then returned again. LWPD officers attempted to arrest Borders after arriving at W. Seminole Avenue, but he ran to a nearby wooded area.

Lake Wales Police Department K9 'murdered by a violent suspect': PCSO

Velasquez said that's when Officer Jared Joyner, his partner K-9 Max, and a backup officer went into the wooded area to search for Borders.

“The canine identified and apprehended the subject. He engaged with the subject. The officers immediately began to tell him to show his hands, show his hands, show his hands multiple times,” said Chief Velasquez.

K-9 officer Max bit Borders in his "foot/leg area." That's when Lake Wales Police said Borders did not listen and killed Max with a stolen gun. In response, Officer Joyner and the other backup officer shot and killed Borders.

Lake Wales K-9 officer shot and killed
A still image from police bodycam video from when a Lake Wales K-9 officer was shot and killed on 8/3/2022.

"This dog did exactly what he was trained to do. He was very, very well trained; he performed exactly as he was supposed to. And he ultimately saved the lives of police officers this morning. I fully, whole-heatedly believe that," Velasquez said.

Max was a 7-year-old Belgian Malinois and his partner, Officer Joyner, has been with LWPD for 11 years.

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LWPD K-9 team Officer Jared Joyner and Max, a Belgian Malinois, on their first day on patrol in 2015. Max was killed in a shooting on Wednesday, August 3, 2022.

Officer Joyner, per Velasquez, is heartbroken. Both he and the other officer are on administrative leave as the investigation continues.

Hours after the shooting, Officer Joyner led a procession from the Lake Wales Police Department to take Max to the Medical Examiner's Office for a necropsy.

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“You’ve got to stop somehow, you got to stop the cycle and that’s why it’s very important, just like the victim in this case, that they call. If they need help and they’re a victim of domestic violence, they got to call,” said Chief Velasquez.

Watch Wednesday's full press conference from Velasquez below:

Lake Wales Police Chief provides details on the shooting of a police K-9 | Press Conference