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How this Henrico Police officer is honoring his fallen partner 16 years later

RICHMOND, Va. -- On a cold and rainy day in the West End, one recently adopted German Shepherd is still sniffing out his surroundings.

His new dad works for the Henrico County Police Department.

And while he looks the part of a trusty K9 - he`s never been a police dog. Instead, Booker is a constant reminder of an old friend who was lost a long time ago.

2003 was a harrowing year for Virginia law enforcement. 8 police officers were killed in the line of duty.

The first of those deaths happened in Henrico.

In the early morning hours of January 12, 2003, police were called to the creeks at Virginia Center Shopping Center off Brook Road for a report of a man recklessly shooting a gun.

One of the first to respond was officer Andre Booker, a two year veteran of the force. He quickly spotted the suspect, who got into his car and attempted to flee the scene. Booker put his squad car in reverse to try to block his escape.

Then, something went terribly wrong.

Booker went over the curb, struck and went through an iron fence, down a short embankment and landed in the water

He became trapped inside his vehicle, which sunk to the bottom of this 30 foot deep retention pond. A half dozen officers would jump into the frigid water risking their own lives to try to save his - but there was nothing they could do.

The 26 year old was given a hero`s funeral.

"I miss Andre Booker, and in that way he`s greater than all the great people I think I can think of," Corporal Jim Tetterton said. "The date is something that you don`t forget"

Corporal Tetterton gave an emotional speech at the service.

"He was consistent, he was quick to laugh, he was quick to smile, the type of person with a character that would make a good police officer."

The men who tried to save Booker were honored later that year at the annual valor awards.

Corporal Jay Cable was one of them.

"It was tough to be there to receive recognition for that knowing that the end result was still that we lost Andre," Cable said.

He and Booker worked the same shift, a tight knit group known as 'a-platoon.' And 16 years later, Jay still thinks about his fallen comrade.

In May of last year, Jay suffered another loss, when cancer claimed the life of his family`s 11 year old lab. For a while, they didn`t even consider getting another dog.

"I went so far as tearing some fencing down in the back," Cable explained.

But the house began to feel empty, so after a few months they started to look around.

The Cables knew getting another lab would be too hard emotionally, so they went in a different direction.

"I looked through a lot of different rescues, and ended up going through Virginia German Shepherd Rescue."

Shortly after New Years, they received word there was going to be an adoption event. The date was January 12, the anniversary of Booker's death.

"We thought it was neat," Cable said "Wow, wouldn't  it be neat if the day that we happened to find the dog that was right for us would be on the anniversary."

That`s when they  a one and a half year old shepherd who had already had several owners, but through no fault of his own.

The bond between the dog, Jay, his wife, and their daughter was instantaneous.

but he needed a new name, and the Cables had an idea.

they had recently watched a documentary about the NYPD's K-9 unit, and how those dogs get their names.

"One of their traditions is to name them after fallen NYPD officers," Cable said. "Jenn and I kind of looked at each other and said, well, it`s gotta be Booker."

Before they made it official, Jay reached out to Andre Booker`s former fiancee.

"She right away whole-heartedly endorsed it and gave it her blessing and thought it was a really neat thing," Cable said.

"I am having to get used to, you know, when I say Booker, I think of Andre, of course,' Cable said. "He`s got a lot of energy, whole lot more energy sometimes than we do."

 

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