Anderson County Sheriff’s Office has identified the suspect they say shot and killed a k-9 officer.
23 year old Sergio Martin is one of four suspects wanted in a carjacking turned pursuit that lead to the death of k-9 Hyco.
Warrants have been signed for Martin’s arrest. He will be served with two murder/attempted murder warrants and a cruelty to police dog warrant.
At least 2 others are still at large.
For hours, Wednesday, law enforcement swarmed the yard of East Coast Signs on New Prospect Church Road, where the stolen car was dumped.
Owner, Ben Mallard, was having a quiet day.
“My wife and I were inside having lunch. For a change, the phone wasn’t ringing like crazy,” he said.
That didn’t last long when sirens blasted.
“We looked out the door and there were Sheriff’s cars pulled up into the side property of my building. One out in the street and this red car up here,” he explained.
Mallard learned a car-jacking turned to a pursuit. It then turned a foot chase with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Senior k-9 taking the lead.
“30 seconds later – a minute at the most – I heard 4 or 5 shots off in the woods,” said Mallard.
Those gun shots would prove fatal for k-9 officer Hyco, according to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office. They say the 6 year veteran of their k-9 unit had national accreditation and was simply doing a job he was highly skilled to do when the suspects fired at deputies and him.
“An attack on a k-9 is just like a police officer,” said Sheriff John Skipper.
Hyco’s death is particularly stinging for Sheriff Skipper and Hyco’s handler, Deputy Brandon Saratt.
“Handlers are an unusual breed of people. That dog is their partner. As I understand, under the circumstances, the dog probably saved our handler’s life here,” said Skipper.
When the news spread to Mallard, he was angry.
“To have these guys come running, have them decide to wreck their car, get out and start running through the woods right here, drop their drugs at the corner of the fence and keep on keeping on, I try not to judge people, but they need to catch these guys and get them off the street,” said Mallard.
That’s just what deputies worked to do into the night. They flew towards leads at a moment’s notice. With one suspect caught, they kept pushing and hoping for justice for one of their own.
Sheriff Skipper said they will continue to pursue leads.