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Leon Sheriff K-9 Dog Killed In Shootout

Leon County Sheriff's Office

At approximately 8:42 p.m. on January 31, 2013 the Leon County Sheriff’s Office attempted to stop. Carlos Manuel Cespedes, 31, near the intersection of North Monroe Street and Fred George Road. Deputies received information that Cespedes was in the area and had outstanding warrants for Attempted 1st degree Murder, Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon and Discharging a Firearm from a Vehicle.

When deputies attempted to stop Cespedes, he fled in a silver Pontiac Vibe. Deputies pursued Cespedes to the area of 2115 Seminole Drive where he drove through the yard, exited the vehicle with a firearm and began firing at the deputies. K-9 Deputy Ron McMullen deployed his partner “Koda” as he and other deputies attempted to apprehend Cespedes. The suspect fired multiple shots at the deputies, shooting “Koda.” Deputies McMullen and Tyler Epstein fired multiple shots in return, striking Cespedes in the head.

Deputies transported “Koda” to a local animal hospital where he died from a single gunshot wound. “Koda” was a 5 ½ year old male German shepherd who served with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office since 2008.

“Last night the Leon County Sheriff's Office lost a valuable member of the agency. LCSO K-9 "Koda" was killed while protecting his partner, Deputy McMullen and other deputies from an armed violent fugitive. “Koda” was a fearless and loyal partner. He was trained to serve and protect and that is exactly what he did," said Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell.

Deputies McMullen and Epstein were placed on Administrative Leave with pay, pending the completion of an internal investigation per LCSO policy.

Cespedes was taken to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Room where he is being treated for injuries sustained during this incident. Upon his release, he will be transported to the Leon County Jail.