The Border Patrol honored the lives of not one but two of their K-9 officers. News Center 23’s Amy Martinez was at the special double memorial service for Agents Lazer and Balu.
Two K-9 agents who combined, have assisted in the apprehension of around 600 humans were laid to rest. Agent Romeo Mejia says June 20th was one of the hardest days of his life..
Romeo Mejia, Border Patrol Agent, remembers, “I was just sad, that he was having to suffer…. And I was just sad.”
Mejia says Lazer’s death was a great loss to his family.
Romeo Mejia, “He was like a brother, and he really enjoyed going out and doing the work that we did together. Going out, helping people, helping those in need and bringing closure to families who had lost ones that needed to be found.”
Just a week after Lazer’s death, Border Patrol Agent Michael Crowley lost his partner, Agent Balu.
Michael Crowley, Border Patrol Agent, says, “Because of getting worked up in the kennel while he was away from me, his intestines actually went through and that’s how he passed away. My kids were very attached to him, my seven year old especially. He helped me take care of him.”
Border Patrol Chief Manual Padilla Jr., says K-9 Lazer’s death from heat exhaustion is a tragedy the agency rarely encounters.
Chief Padilla, “There’s a lot of equipment to make sure that we take care of the dogs. They’re hydrated regularly, their handlers know what to look for.”
But just like their human counter parts the job of an officer, be it on two or four legs can be both dangerous and difficult. None the less losing a fellow officer considered both friend and family is never easy, but everyone understands it’s just part of the job of protecting the border.
This is at least the fourth K-9 Officer to die in the Rio Grande Valley this year.