After letting out two “yelping, growling” sounds, Clark County K-9 Deputy Kane, his normally smooth gait thrown off by stab wounds, ran into the arms of his handler, Deputy Rick Osborne, who hurried to the team’s nearby patrol car and then drove to a veterinary hospital.
At St. Francis Animal Hospital, Kane was pronounced dead, ending prematurely a decorated partnership that was less than a year from turning into a more traditional master-pet relationship.
Kane died shortly after midnight on April 2 from three stab wounds suffered as he latched on — twice — to a man suspected of vehicle theft who had allegedly dumped the car and run.
“K-9 Deputy Kane died doing what he loved best — protecting his partner,” said Special Operations Cmdr. Chuck Atkins during a public memorial service Thursday afternoon inside the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds.
Flashing lights and barking dogs lined the entrance to the event center, where large-screen pictures showed Kane and Osborne in a playful embrace.
Including the dogs, about 250 were on hand at the public memorial. It was the latest in an outpouring of support that began immediately after Kane’s death with cards and donations — $12,000 worth to the sheriff’s office K-9 program — sent from all over the country and as far away as Australia. A Milwaukie, Ore., artist gave the sheriff’s office a stone likeness of Kane. It was displayed at the memorial along with donated drawings of Kane.
Visiting and local officers, in their rugged green or black K-9 handler uniforms, filled the first several rows of the event center for the one-hour service. Dog and handler teams came from Canada and throughout Washington and Oregon to attend. More than 100 community members were scattered across the large hall.
Chief Criminal Deputy Mike Evans shared new details during the memorial of Kane’s unrelenting dedication to do his job.
On April 2, Kane and Osborne followed a vehicle with switched license plates to the 8800 block of Northeast 107th Avenue, where it lost control of the vehicle and smashed into a fence. H. Keegan Graves and Natasa Cresap allegedly fled on foot and Kane, off his leash, tracked Graves into a small area nestled among trees.
Osborne heard Kane let out a “yelping, growling sound” he’d never before heard his partner make and called for the dog. Kane, though, consumed with bringing the suspect into custody, didn’t respond. And then for a second time, Kane let out a pained moan.
Osborne saw Graves run off and Kane come running back, as best he could with three serious stab wounds. Graves and Cresap were taken into custody without further incident.
Graves has pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, and one charge each of harming a police dog, attempting to elude police and possession of a stolen vehicle. His trial is set for July 18 in Clark County Superior Court. Cresap was taken into custody on an outstanding Department of Corrections warrant.
It was for his “continued diligence even after suffering life-threatening injuries” that Kane was awarded the sheriff’s office’s medal of valor, Evans said as he presented the medal and a Purple Heart to Osborne.
Kane received a second medal of valor from the Washington State Police Canine Association. His name will be inscribed on a K-9 memorial at the Law Enforcement Academy in Burien, said an official with the association.
Kane and Osborne were no strangers to awards. The duo received an award in 2008 from the President’s Executive Office of National Drug Control Policy for marijuana eradication.
A brief video featured footage of Osborne and Kane harnessed to a helicopter during training for short-term airborne missions, and photos of Kane wearing sunglasses and lounging on the grass in Osborne’s backyard. By the end of the video, which was backed by Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger,” many in the crowd were wiping their eyes and noses with tissues.
“Pure magic,” Evans called partners Osborne and Kane.
Sheriff Garry Lucas also spoke during the service. He said Kane had been part of hundreds of demonstrations to area students and helped bring into custody hundreds of “bad guys.”
‘A void in our lives’
At the end of the memorial, a 911 dispatcher’s voice gave Osborne’s police call sign, one-Henry-three, and said, “Kane, gone but not forgotten.”
Osborne was joined Thursday by his wife, Tara, and young son, Marshal. The family shook hands and met with well-wishers during a reception held after the event.
Osborne spoke with The Columbian for the first time since Kane’s death. “I’m very appreciative of the community and everyone who has supported us,” he said. “It has been unbelievable.”
Kane was scheduled to retire in 2012. The 8-year-old Dutch shepherd would have spent his golden years with the Osbornes.
“He’s a huge void in our lives,” Osborne said. “He was special. He was a fun dog.”