Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Rest in peace, Var

Back in April I posted a story about K9 Var receiving the Purple Heart. Sadly, he passed away over the weekend.

K9 Officer Var, the German Shepherd who received the Purple Heart after being wounded while chasing a suspect with his partner this last March, passed away over the weekend.

Var died from complications over the weekend according to his former partner, Officer Dan Lesser.

"I was fortunate to get to sit with him on Saturday," Lesser said in an e-mail Monday afternoon. "I wanted to thank everyone for all of the support that they have given. Var was an amazing dog and you don't realize all the good that he has done and all the lives he has impacted."

Var was awarded the Purple Heart in late April after he was shot and wounded twice by a thief he was following during a foot pursuit with his partner Officer Lesser. He is the only K9 in the police department's history to receive the award for being wounded in the line of duty.

He was wounded in action in March while tracking 22-year-old Johnnie Longest during a nighttime foot pursuit. Longest was tracked by Var when he tried to run from police. During the foot pursuit Longest shot Var twice in the face and leg. Var's partner returned fire and killed Longest.

At the time Var had been recalled from retirement to active duty just three days before he was shot and wounded. He underwent surgery for his wounds and returned to retirement, his position on the force taken over by new K9 Rav ... which is Var spelled backwards.


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