Johnstown, PA Mourns Loss of K9 Officer Following Fatal Fall
Johnstown, PA – During a search of an empty brick warehouse for suspected copper thieves, K9 Officer Titan fell down an unsecured elevator shaft in the pre-dawn hours Sunday morning. He, his handler, and other officers were searching the warehouse, previously owned by Goodwill, and recently sold to a medical marijuana company, after reports of flashlights being seen in the building came into the local 911 center just prior to 5 a.m.
The building, which lacked electrical connections, was mostly empty aside from items left from the previous owner. Without the aid of overhead lighting, officers were forced to use their flashlights to conduct the search. As they conducted the sweep of the unfamiliar building, they were unaware of the perils before them. Titan walked into an unsecured elevator shaft from the fourth floor, falling to his death.
Following the fall, several subjects were located inside the building. Subsequent searches yielded a total of five suspects in all. A Ford F150 pickup truck was found parked at a loading bay attached to the building. It was believed to be used to carry stolen metals from the building during the burglary.
Johnstown Police Department Interim Chief Chad Miller released a statement Sunday afternoon on the tragic loss of Titan. He described Titan’s tenure as “honorable” and his loss as “a heartbreaking accident.”
Cambria County District Attorney Greg Neugebauer advised that he would take appropriate measures against the suspects for their actions and their attempts to elude capture during the search, causing Titan’s loss. In a public message he released, he went on to state, “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Officer Stevens and his family, and to the entire JPD family during this difficult time.”
Titan, a six-year veteran of the police force, is survived by his handler, Officer Brian Stevens.