Houston, TX – Houston Police Department K9 Jake died of natural causes on June 30, the agency said.
K9 Jake, a Belgian Malinois, served the department for seven years and would have turned 11 years old in August, Houston police said in a tweet.
Nicknamed “The Launcher,” K9 Jake was trained as a bomb and patrol dog, his partner, Houston Police Officer Brian Schmidt told KTRK in February.
"He'll be 10 to 15 feet away from the suspect and he will launch himself in the air and hit the decoy or the suspect in the air," Officer Schmidt explained. “There's times that it amazes me things that he's done…in searches. He seeks out the evil that’s out there.”
In 2017, K9 Jake was shot twice while taking down a fleeing armed robbery suspect.
As K9 Jake closed in on the male suspect, another officer accidently got in between the K9 and his target, KTRK reported.
"The canine bit the officer and latched on to his thigh,” Assistant Houston Police Chief George Buenik explained. “At that point, the officer discharged his weapon, striking the dog. Jake was shot twice."
K9 Jake sustained “through and through” gunshots to his mouth and neck, and no vital organs or arteries were hit.
"He was still running after he was shot," Chief Buenik said at the time. "That tells you how tough he is."
K9 Jake returned to duty after recovering from his injuries, and took down "hundreds" of suspects over the course of his career, Officer Schmidt told KTRK.
“[K9 Jake] served the residents of Houston for 7 years with his handler Senior Police Officer Brian Schmidt,” the department tweeted in the wake of his death. “Jake’s service to the community will be missed.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Houston Police Department and Officer Brian Schmidt in the loss of K9 Jake.