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Hundreds Attend Memorial Service For K-9 Aren

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A somber ceremony was held Thursday morning to honor a slain police dog.

It was a tribute to Aren, a 5-year-old German Shepherd who was killed on Sunday while responding to an incident in Wilkinsburg.

A processional and memorial service on the North Shore, at the foot of the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Songs, poems and memories of a K-9 killed in the line of duty.

"I thought it was very well done. Very dignified. Definitely honored Aren appropriately," said Shaune Robertson. He and his wife traveled from Beaver county, to attend the service.

Aren had served four years on the Port Authority Police force. He was trained in patrol tactics, detecting explosives and SWAT K-9 operations. His handler was Sgt. Brian O'Malley. Aren's time of service ended last Sunday when he was stabbed multiple times while trying to stop a man Port Authority Police were chasing.

A Port Authority officer shared with those at the memorial, "On Sunday, K-9 Aren did just that. He performed flawlessly, like he had done in training hundreds of times. K-9 Aren's sacrifice allowed Brian and his fellow officers to go home unharmed, and for this we are forever grateful."

K-9 handlers, many with their companions at their side, paused to remember Aren and the bonds they share with their K-9 officers.

"We're with our dogs more than we're with our actual family," said Louis Sitzman, a K-9 handler with the Swissvale Police Dept. "He comes to work with me 40 hours a week and then he comes home with me."

"It hits close to home because it could be any of us doing the same thing that Sgt. O'Malley and Aren had done that day," said Officer David Zacchia, a K-9 handler with the Swissvale Police Department.

A wreath was laid for K-9 Aren, in appreciation of his service. He's another officer, a member of the force, who will be fondly remembered.

Bruce Kelley, Jr. is accused of stabbing Aren after running from police along the East Busway. Police say Kelley Jr. and his father were drinking at a stop along the busway. When police confronted the two men, Kelley Jr. ran away.

Police say Port Authority officers released K-9 Aren to catch Kelley Jr. When Aren closed in, he was stabbed multiple times.

Two police officers opened fire on Kelley Jr., subsequently killing him.

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