Joseph Pye Elementary gives recognition to injured NCPD officer, K-9 killed in line of duty

Joseph Pye Elementary gives recognition to injured NCPD officer, K-9 killed in line of duty (Source: Live 5 News)
Joseph Pye Elementary gives recognition to injured NCPD officer, K-9 killed in line of duty (Source: Live 5 News)
Joseph Pye Elementary gives recognition to injured NCPD officer, K-9 killed in line of duty (Source: Live 5 News)
Joseph Pye Elementary gives recognition to injured NCPD officer, K-9 killed in line of duty (Source: Live 5 News)

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Joseph Pye Elementary School is giving recognition to its crossing guard, North Charleston Police Officer Brandon VanAusdal, and his K-9 Officer Mojo.

Police say they were hit about two weeks ago by someone driving under the influence.

The K-9 died in the crash and his handler is still recovering.

Student, teachers and staff at the school are showing their support for the officer known as Officer Brandon.

They wore blue to school on Wednesday to show that support.

Fifth grader Ella Britton says Officer Brandon is nice and organized.

"We saw him every morning." Britton said.

School officials have created a banner for everyone to sign. They plan to deliver it to Officer Brandon.

Teacher Sandra Burke is a primary reading and math intervention teacher.

She says one of Officer Brandon's duties is helping walk children home.

"We have to walk down the road and across a pretty busy street, Patriot Boulevard., and he's been out there for the last four years just helping us get across the street safely to make sure everyone is getting home in one piece," Burke said.

They want Officer Brandon to know they are thinking about him as he recovers and through the loss of Mojo.

"We're a close community everyone is very involved with school events community events and Officer Brandon and Mojo are a part of our family," Burke said. "The kids, when we walk home, they are all yelling 'Bye Mojo! Bye Mojo!' and he would bark back in response."

Fifth grader Caroline Welty says she was sad to hear what happened.

"It was heartbreaking because I love dogs," Welty said.

Maliyah Reid says she would also see Officer Brandon and Mojo each day.

"I felt sad for the K-9 and for Officer Brandon for losing one of his partners." Reid said.

The school started taking donations during car line when parents are dropping off or picking up their children.

So far they've raised more than $500 for his family in one day. They will continue to collect donations until Friday.

"We are praying for his family and his healing," Burke said.

The students have a personal message for Officer Brandon.

"That you're a great police officer and keep on helping the world," Welty said.

School officials say he is still on medical leave.

"You're a really strong person and I hope you get better and I hope that you stay strong," Reid said.

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