Contact: Sgt. Joy Matthews
Supervisor Approval: Chief Deputy Troy Woodwyk
Case Number: 21-140363
Incident Type: Home Invasion / K9 Line of Duty Death
UPDATE on 09/08/2021 at 4:15 PM: A public memorial for Kent County Sheriff’s Office K9 Axel will be held on 09/18/2021 at 11:00 AM at the Cedar Springs High School Football Stadium located at 204 E Muskegon St N.E. The public is more than welcome to join us in honoring K9 Axel and his service to the residents of Kent County. For law enforcement officers attending the event, please wear your Class B uniform.
SPARTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (August 28, 2021) – The Kent County Sheriff’s Office is mourning the loss of one of their K9s who died while searching for a potentially armed home invasion suspect.
On 08/28/2021 at 12:21 PM, deputies from the Kent County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 8700 block of Glen Park Court N.W. in Sparta Township on a report of an in-progress home invasion where the suspect was potentially armed. After arriving on scene, deputies located the suspect in a vehicle. After initiating a traffic stop, the suspect fled on foot into the woods. One of the KCSO's K9 teams, Deputy Krystal Stuart and K9 Axel, started a track for the suspect. Shortly after the track began, K9 Axel suffered a medical emergency and was rushed to the Animal Emergency Hospital, where he later died.
"The entire Kent County Sheriff’s Office is heartbroken," said Sheriff LaJoye-Young. "A K9 is a partner to their handler and an incredibly special member of our KCSO family. We will forever be grateful for Axel’s service to the residents of Kent County."
A procession from Animal Emergency Hospital on Plainfield Avenue N.E. to his personal vet, Cedar Animal Hospital in Cedar Springs, occurred with assistance from the Grand Rapids Police Department K9 Unit, the Michigan State Police K9 Unit, the Wyoming Police Department K9 Unit, the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit, the Plainfield Fire Department, and the Cedar Springs Fire Department.
The home invasion investigation is ongoing. The suspect is still outstanding but is not believed to be a threat to the public. No officers were injured during the incident.
K9 Axel has been with the KCSO since May 2019. He was the agency’s only explosive detection dog and was assigned to the Community Services Unit with handler Deputy Krystal Stuart. Please keep K9 Axel and Deputy Stuart in your thoughts and prayers.