PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (FOX 56) – The final officer killed in last Thursday’s deadly police shooting in Allen, Ky. was raised to rest Friday evening at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg, Ky.
K-9 officer Drago was in the backseat of a police car when the gunman, Lance Storz came around the back of the vehicle and shot the officer, according to Floyd Co. Sheriff John Hunt.
Friday’s service was made pet friendly as people were encouraged to bring their dogs so they too could pay their respects to the fallen hero.
All in all, upwards of 200 people from across the Commonwealth came to say goodbye to Drago, as he now joins Captain Ralph Frasure, Deputy William Petry, and Officer Jacob Chaffins who were laid to rest earlier this week.
During his time serving his community, Drago grew to celebrity status. He was also however an integral part in the families of his handlers.
“When I broke the news to my family, that was probably the roughest part for me, is my daughters,” said Drago’s first handler, Justin Szymchack. “They were making like these TikTok slide show videos, that was pretty tough to watch, to watch them hurt. We spent so much time together, you know he was always around.”
When Szymchack left Prestonsburg for Ashland, Ky. Drago changed handlers to Dusty Newsome, and to him, Drago was truly one of a kind.
“When I was at work, I put the vest on him, he knew hey it’s time to go to work,” said Newsome. “And then when I get him home and took it off, he was just a good cute little dog. Everybody loved him.”
Although Drago would eventually become a beloved member of both his community and his police family, there were certainly growing pains to say the least.
“I brought him home, and it was kind of like that movie if you ever watched Marley and Me, there is a lot of growing pains,” said Szymchack. “You are just like ‘why did I do this’ you know and at the end, you’re kind of like best friends.”
Despite these early bumps in the road, Drago became a loyal teammate when he went out in the field.
“Sometimes your back up is 30, 40 minutes away but to me I never felt that way because I always had him with me,” Szymchack said. “He was always in my backseat. Everybody would laugh be like ‘man you’re gonna work alone, you going to be ok?’ I’m like I’m not going to be working alone, I got the baddest deputy working with me.”
So what will Drago’s legacy be? According to Newsome, it is going to be a rather simple one.
“Just being the greatest dog in the world,” Newsome said. “You got people in every county around here that knows my dog. They may not know me but they know my dog.”