Kitt, the K-9 who died in the line of duty last week, is being remembered as a hero who worked for the Braintree Police Department for 12 years.
Kitt was shot and killed while responding to a reported domestic disturbance outside a Braintree apartment complex on June 4. Kitt’s handler, Officer Bill Cushing, and another officer, Matthew Donoghue, were also shot and wounded in the firefight. Donoghue was released from Boston Medical Center on Saturday, while Cushing continued to recover in a South Shore hospital Sunday. The suspect, identified as 34-year-old Andrew Homen of Brockton, was shot and later pronounced dead at Milton Hospital.
Braintree Police Chief Mark W. Dubois said the department will formally honor Kitt after Cushing gets out of the hospital.
“We have not made plans for Kitt yet,” Dubois said in an e-mail. “We are waiting for the officer to get released from the hospital. Once we have a plan we will put out a notice to the community.”
A GoFundMe page (gofundme.com/f/in-memory-of-k9-kitt) has been launched in memory of Kitt. As of Monday afternoon, it had raised more than $12,500 for the Braintree Police Working Dog Foundation, Inc., a charitable organization that supports the Braintree Police Department’s K-9 Unit.
“A member of the Braintree Police Department for 12 years, K9 Officer Kitt was responsible for the safe apprehension of many violent criminals, the location of many missing persons, and many successful searches for evidence,” the GoFundMe page states. “K9 Officer Kitt was an invaluable member of the Braintree Police Department and died a hero.”
News of Kitt’s spread quickly on social media.
K9s of Valor, a nonprofit organization based in Ohio, shared photos of Kitt and posted a message of condolence on Facebook. “Kitt undoubtedly died a hero, as his body absorbed the first rounds meant for officers,” the Facebook post said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with K9 Kitt’s family, the two injured officers and the department during this very difficult time.”
Braintree police also posted tributes to Kitt on social media that went viral. One Facebook post garnered more than 1,200 comments and was shared 6,000 times.
“K9 Kitt started with us 12 years ago,” the department wrote on Facebook. “Going through K9 patrol school, you came out…guns blazing…during your service you apprehended countless criminals, often in the dead of night…through thick brush, and insane weather. You found bad guys, wandered elderly, firearms and other ballistic evidence. You were never shy to help out at K9 Demo’s or our Citizen Police / Junior Police Academies. You also never declined a moment to be showcased on our social media. We will forever miss and remember you buddy.”
The Braintree Police Department also shared photos of Kitt on Twitter.
“Free Time Kitt,” the department tweeted. “We will forever miss you and always remember the good times we shared with you buddy. You went out a lion, protecting your dad and his partners.″