NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Law enforcement from across the Lowcountry paid their respects to the first K-9 officer in the North Charleston Police Department killed in the line of duty.
Officer Mojo died in a car crash Feb. 15 on Rivers Avenue in North Charleston, which also injured his handler.
Fellow K-9 officers from Lowcountry law enforcement agencies could be heard whimpering as Mojo's funeral procession arrived at the church in North Charleston.
"A K-9, a lot of people look at it and say it's an animal, but to us it's not," said Captain Jim Woods with the Charleston County Sheriff's Office. "That animal, as people call it, that K-9 is just as much an officer as the rest of us. We're very honored to do it, but it breaks our heart to have to do this."
K-9 officers, their handlers, deputies, and officers lined the parking lot in front of the church. The image so powerful that it touched on the emotions of a bystander.
"You could see me tearing up, absolutely," said Keith McKeown.
McKeown said he was out shopping for a refrigerator when he came across Mojo's funeral procession.
"It was pretty emotional," he said. "I've got three dogs at home and I know what our police do for us."
"It hits all of us," Woods said. "It really tears at our hearts. These K-9s are extremely dedicated. They do what they're instructed to do day in and day out. They're extremely loyal. This is a heartbreaking event."
Mojo's handler is out of the hospital following the crash last week. He also paid respects to his partner Friday.
"I can't even imagine what he's experiencing right now," Woods said.
Remarks were made by Chief Reggie Burgess and Sergeant Kenneth Sharp during the service. North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey was also in attendance.
According to the funeral program, Mojo was five-years-old when he died. He would have turned six March 4.
North Charleston Police spokesman Spencer Pryor said Mojo was an officer with NCPD for most of his life.