Wishing Deputy Rich Klaysmat and K9 Kenzo a Speedy Recovery
Wishing Deputy Rich Klaysmat and K9 Kenzo a Speedy Recovery

Our thoughts and prayers are with Deputy Rich Klaysmat and K9 Kenzo.  K9 Kenzo showed the traits it takes to be a true Police K9: Devotion to duty, Loyalty, Courage, and a Fighting Spirit. Get well soon!!!

Courtesy of The Palm Beach Post

PBSO: K9 Kenzo recovering for three gunshot wounds.

Sheriff’s K-9 deputy Kenzo was right where he was supposed to be Monday night – between his deputy partner and their suspected bad guy, a man armed and believed to have already killed his girlfriend.

In seconds, the dog took two shots to its body, likely saving both the handler’s life and the lieutenant with him, says Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw.

“He gave the deputies enough time to do what they needed to do,” Bradshaw said.

Sheriff’s Lt. Richard Burdick was not unscathed, he was treated for a gunshot wound to the thigh and released to recover at home. But Bradshaw says both he and those on the scene are convinced it could’ve been worse.

“If he hadn’t distracted the guy, maybe more than one of them would’ve been shot, and maybe not just in the leg,” Bradshaw said Tuesday. “But that’s what he’s trained to do – apprehend people.”

Kenzo, a black German shepherd, has been at this job for eight of his nine years of life. He is one of 54 dogs working for the sheriff’s office, and one of 28 dogs on patrol, sheriff’s spokeswoman Teri Barbera said.

One bullet was removed from Kenzo’s body this morning, while the other went clean through. He left the veterinary hospital in Palm Beach Gardens this afternoon.

The suspect, Armando Gonzalez Filipe, is dead. An investigation is underway to piece together Monday evening’s events.

Sheriff’s officials believe Felipe shot to death his live-in girlfriend Deglis Quintana, 37, at their mobile home in Casa Del Monte near Greenacres.

Deputies set up a perimeter in the area and Felipe was eventually spotted near a concrete privacy wall. As he was coming through a break in that wall he unexpectedly came face-to-face with the deputies – the dog out front, Bradshaw said. Kenzo then rushed the suspect, he said.

It is standard procedure that when a handler and his dog are deployed, another deputy covers them with a shotgun or rifle – the handler can’t handle a dog and a gun simultaneously, Bradshaw said.

Details about whether the dog was off leash, the distance between the suspect and the deputies, are part of the investigation. “I’m guessing, but probably (the dog was) within six feet. They move fast. Those dogs can approach you really quick,” Bradshaw said.

It appears from the dog’s wounds and the shot in the lieutenant’s thigh that the suspect’s first reaction was to fire at the dog, Barbera said.

That’s part of Kenzo’s job – a job that can be fatal.

The last dog to die in the line of duty in this area was in 2004, when Vasko, a 5-year-old German Shepherd and St. Lucie County Sheriff’s K-9, was shot and killed trying to subdue a man who carjacked a Cadillac and threw its owner in the trunk.

Barrington Levy, then 21, was later convicted of those crimes and sentenced to life in prison, plus 50 years. That included 15 years for killing the police dog and resisting arrest with violence.

Three dogs working for departments in Palm Beach County have also died on the job, including Zeus, who died in 2001, and Smokey, who died in 1981, both while working for the Boynton Beach Police Department.

In 1984, the Delray Beach Police Department lost Cello from injuries he suffered when he caught two hubcap thieves.

Bradshaw isn’t ready to retire Kenzo quite yet. He’s waiting to hear from the vet. But he guesses the dog is eager to get back to work.

“That’s what they thrive on. They want to please the handlers.”

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