FRANKLIN COUNTY, NC (WNCN) – On Monday, the Franklin County Sheriff’s office honored one of their own in a traditional celebration of life. A K9 officer, by the name of Major, was shot and killed in the line of duty on April 10.
This all happened during a shootout with an armed robbery suspect in Granville county.
CBS 17 attended the ceremony along with more than 100 officers from all across the state who came to pay their respects to Major, who they said was a faithful servant and a great friend. State troopers, Clayton Police, Wayne County Police, and Nashville Police were just a few of the agencies in attendance.
Corporal Jamie Lariviere was Major’s partner for the past two years and spoke with a CBS 17 crew about his loyal companion.
“That dog saved my life and very well could have saved my teammate’s lives,” he said.
The celebration of life took place Monday morning at 11 a.m. at the Louisburg High School auditorium.
Franklin County Sheriff Kent Winstead said this is the first time the department has lost a K-9 officer in the line of duty.
Cpl. Lariviere spoke on what he will miss the most about Major.
“Somebody riding with me every day. Somebody in the back, that dog was always there. Always excited to see ya,” he shared.
He also spoke about the overwhelming support of officers and deputies who attended the ceremony.
“The law enforcement community is strong and the people that do this job love to do it. They don’t second guess coming out every day and it shows that they came here to support me,” he said.
Deputies said the 21-year-old suspect accused of killing the K-9 is William Darius Eichelberger.
They say Eichelberger stole a car in Granville County and they later found him hiding under a house.
It was at that home, where deputies said Eichelberger shot at them and they fired back. Sadly, Major lost his life during the exchange.
We asked Cpl. Lariviere if he would do things differently if he could go back in time.
“I don’t regret anything that we did. We made a decision as a team and I felt a calling that that was mine and Majors’ job to do that day. That the Lord blessed us with the opportunity to do that. I don’t regret anything that we did,” he said.
Eichelberger faces these felony charges:
- Assault on a law enforcement agency K-9
- Assault on law enforcement officers with a firearm
- Breaking and/or entering (2 counts)
- Breaking and entering a motor vehicle
- Larceny after breaking and entering
- Possession of stolen firearm
- Robbery with a dangerous weapon
- Possession of stolen goods/property
- Larceny of motor vehicle
At this time, Eichelberger is being held on a $1 million bond.