Fido rests his paw on the casket of Jason Ellis in Bardstown, Ky., May 30, 2013. (Jonathan Palmer)
More than 1,000 people—including hundreds of fellow police officers from surrounding states—turned out at a funeral in rural Kentucky late last week to pay their respects to Jason Ellis, a 33-year-old K-9 officer gunned down last month in what authorities believe was an ambush.
Fido, Ellis' police dog, was there, too, placing his paw on the closed casket—a moment captured in a heartbreaking image by photographer Jonathan Palmer.
Fido was not with Ellis on May 25 when he was shot multiple times while collecting debris on a highway off-ramp in Bardstown, Ky., a close-knit community of about 12,000 located 40 miles southeast of Louisville. Ellis' slaying remains unsolved.
Ellis' flag-draped casket is led through the cemetery. (Wales Hunter/Louisville Metro Police Department)
Dozens of fellow K-9 officers attended the funeral and, according to the Herald Leader, their dogs could be heard barking from their cruisers:
Hundreds of officers snapped to attention when the honor guard was called; the 60 or so police dogs at the ceremony barked with the sound of the guards' 21-gun salute.
Ellis, a six-year veteran of the police force, was remembered by Bardstown Police Chief Rick McCubbin, who pledged to hunt down the killer.
"I am your chief, Jason, but you're our hero and you need to know this chief will not stand down," McCubbin said. "Jason, my friend, rest easy. We've got it from here."
Ellis is survived by his wife, Amy, and two sons: Hunter, 7, and Parker, 6.
"He paid the ultimate sacrifice doing what he loved, being a police officer," McCubbin added.
h/t Lisa Downs