YORK COUNTY, SC (WBTV) - York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson honor K-9 Officer Gabby with a Medal of Valor for her role during the night four officers were shot in 2018.
Gabby is 5-years-old, and was bred into the York County Sheriff’s Office K-9 program. She has been working with Sgt. Randy Clinton ever since.
Sheriff Tolson says Gabby was leading the team the night they were called to search for an armed man wanted for abusing his wife. Sgt. Randy Clinton knew they were close to the suspect based on the way she was acting. A few steps around a corner, the suspect fired three shots at them.
“When shots rang out and Sgt. Clinton was shot he actually turned a flip. He was then concerned about himself and Gabby basically went off-lead. In other words, Sgt. Clinton did not have control of her,” Sheriff Tolson said.
Sgt. Clinton was hit with the first two rounds, he thought Gabby was hit by the third.
“I thought she was dead,” Sgt. Clinton said.
It wasn’t until Clinton was being dragged out of the woods and into a patrol car to go to the hospital that he learned Gabby was still alive.
“Gabby actually brought up the rear of the pack and as Sgt. Clinton was being put into the car, Gabby licked him on the cheek,” Sheriff Tolson said.
It was a sense of relief for Sgt. Clinton and Gabby, knowing they both were still alive.
Because of her display of courage that night, Sheriff Tolson awarded Gabby with a Medal of Valor. It’s the first time in the history of the Sheriff’s Department a K9 officer received the prestigious honor.
“It’s a very bestowed award that’s not given very frequently,” Sheriff Tolson said. “It’s given with a lot of diligence and thought put into it so we felt like Gabby deserved it.”
Since the shootings, Gabby has continued to work without her original handler. Sgt. Clinton has not returned to full duty so Gabby has been working with another officer on the K-9 team.
Sgt. Clinton expects to return back to full-duty in about three months if all goes as planned.
The Sheriff’s Office also gave Gabby a large cake to thank her.