DeKalb sheriff’s deputy suspended following K-9 death investigation

AUBURN, Ind. (WANE) The investigation into the death of a DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department K-9 has been completed and it’s been determined the officer involved did not commit any criminal acts.

However, Deputy Courtney Fuller has been suspended without pay for 30 days and he will no longer be a canine handler or a school resource officer according to a news release issued Tuesday by Sheriff Don Lauer.

The K-9, named Mojo, died on July 6 after Fuller left the animal inside his squad car when the two had finished their shift at around 3 p.m. According to Sheriff Lauer, Fuller had become distracted by a “situation” with his newborn child.

Fuller noticed Mojo was not in his kennel around 7:15 p.m., Lauer said. He went out to the squad car and found Mojo dead of an apparent heat stroke. Fuller then contacted his supervisor. Sheriff Lauer indicated in Tuesday’s press release that Fuller fully cooperated with the investigation.

Mojo, the canine partner of school resource officer Courtney Fuller, enjoys a scratch from his master at Eastside Junior-Senior High School in this December 2014 photo. (Photo courtesy KPC News)

Fuller immediately contacted his supervisor, who contacted the Allen County Sheriff’s Department to conduct an investigation, according to Lauer.

Mojo was taken to Purdue University that same day for a necropsy to determine the cause of death. On July 19 a preliminary report came back from Purdue and according to Sheriff Lauer the cause of death was determined to be consistent with heat stroke.

Also on July 19 a report was received from the Allen County Police Department’s Internal Affairs department. The investigation determined that no criminal statutes had been violated. According to Sheriff Lauer’s news release, the DeKalb County Prosecutor’s Office agreed with the finding.

However, it was determined that the sheriff’s department’s Employee Standards of Conduct and Code of Ethics had been violated. Deputy Fuller was determined to be derelict in his duty and his conduct was unbecoming a staff member.

Following his suspension, Deputy Fuller will return to work in the department’s patrol division according to Sheriff Lauer.