A tense, high-drama, 12-hour standoff between a suspect inside an apartment and Las Vegas metro police ended in a “bloody mess” in early February.
A lot of that blood belonged to a K9 named Nicky.
The call came in on a Thursday. Screams and possible gunshots could be heard coming from the apartment.
Police and SWAT vehicles, fire trucks and paramedics flooded the scene. Neighbors were evacuated. Reporters from KTNV in Las Vegas tweeted from the scene.
When negotiations spilled into the next day police sent in their K9 units.
One of the dogs was Nicky, a handsome 8-year-old Belgian Malinois.
The suspect attacked Nicky with a machete, slashing him several times on his face and head. Without a cry or whimper Nicky fought back, biting the man several times and helping to take him down.
“He's a very good police dog, he's a very courageous dog,” Sgt. Eric Kerns, Nicky’s partner for three years, told KTNV.
“He's been up against some tough suspects, some big intimidating people, and he doesn't care.”
Nicky survived after hours in surgery. His wounds kept him off the job for several weeks. His human colleagues noted how much Nicky, despite a face full of staples, wanted to go back to work. He eventually did, on March 8.
Just three weeks later, Nicky helped catch his last bad guy.
On March 31 he was fatally shot during a running gun battle between officers and an armed suspect who had been randomly shooting at neighbors.
As the suspect fired at police, they fired back. In the crossfire, one of the officer’s bullets hit Nicky, killing him.
“It's devastating to lose that dog,” Capt. Shawn Andersen of the Las Vegas police told KSNV. “That dog is one of us.”
The police department had to keep Nicky’s funeral on April 6 private because there wasn’t enough room for all the people who wanted to go. He was laid to rest in a pet cemetery alongside 92 other K9s from local, state and federal agencies.
Nicky received a hero’s farewell. An honor guard. An American flag on his tiny coffin. Emotional speeches.
He was one of the best police canines to ever work the streets of Las Vegas, his human colleagues gushed.
At the end of the funeral the K9s of the metro police department raised their voices loud to honor their fallen friend.
Came the command to their handlers: “May I have your canine partners to bark.”