COLORADO SPRINGS — Thursday was a somber day for law enforcement all across as they mourned the loss of a brother in blue.
“When we lost Jinx, we lost a member of our office,” said Sheriff Bill Elder of El Paso County Sherriff’s Office. “He was one of our own.”
A service was held at New Life Church in Colorado Springs to commemorate the memory of EPSO’s K9 “Jinx” who was shot and killed in the line of duty.
“K9 Jinx was born on March 12, 2019. Deputy Ronnie Hancock and Jinx began training together in March of 2020,” Sherriff Elder said.
K9 handlers said, on the surface, it’s easy to see how good they have it.
“What better job than to show up every day and play with dogs,” said EPSO K9 handler, Deputy Nick Witherite. “Playing ball, teaching your dog to sit, belly rubs and brand new puppy kisses.”
But, there’s a difficult aspect to their job as well — and that was lived out in Jinx’s case.
“The night of April 11th, 2022 changed the EPSO K9 Unit forever,” Deputy Witherite said.
It was on this night that Witherite, a friend of Deputy Hancock’s, received a call from his sergeant.
“I realized it was almost midnight and Brad’s a day-shift sergeant. So, I knew he wasn’t calling just to hear his voice,” Deputy Witherite said.
In fact, his sergeant was delivering the news that K9 Jinx had been shot and killed in the line of duty.
“I didn’t ask questions, and somehow I was able to put pants on and get out the door. I didn’t know what I needed to do where I needed to go, or what needed to be done, I knew I just needed to see Ronnie.”
That night, 67-year-old Wilford Robert DeWeese had reportedly threatened people with a gun in a Manitou Springs neighborhood. EPSO and the Manitou Springs Police Department both arrived on scene and a skirmish ensued.
“The decision to use K9 Jinx as a less than lethal option in that situation ultimately cost Jinx his life,” Witherite said. “But, Jinx proudly and without hesitation sacrificed his life to protect his handler, officers on scene and the community, which was in direct line of fire from the suspect.”
K9 jinx had been with the Sheriff’s Office for two years and, although it was brief, he served his time well.
“Their bond was like no other that I had ever seen,” Witherite said. “A man and his dog. His furry kangaroo tornado with fangs. His four-legged best friend. And ultimately his savior. So here’s to you, Jinx. You were the bestest, most goodest boy.”
The full service can be viewed here.