SPARTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A Kent County Sheriff’s Office K-9 died Saturday after it suffered a medical emergency while tracking a suspect.

Around 12:20 p.m. deputies responded to reports of an in-progress home invasion at the 8700 block of Glen Park Court N.W. near Sparta Avenue NW in Sparta Township, the sheriff’s office said in a release. It said the suspect was potentially armed.

Officials say deputies found the suspect in a vehicle and after initiating a traffic stop the suspect ran away into the woods.

K-9 Axel and his handler, Deputy Krystal Stuart, started to tract the suspect. While tracking the suspect, Axel suffered a medical emergency, officials say.

Axel was brought to an animal emergency hospital, where he died.

A photo of K9 Axel. (courtesy the Kent County Sheriff’s Office)

There was a procession with multiple local law enforcement departments’ K-9 units from the emergency hospital to Axel’s veterinarian in Cedar Springs.

“The entire Kent County Sheriff’s Office is heartbroken,” Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young said in the release. “A K-9 is a partner to their handler and an incredibly special member of our KCSO family. We will forever be grateful for Axel’s service to the residents of Kent County.”

Axel was with the KCSO since 2019. He was an explosive detection dog in the Community Services unit with his handler Stuart.

“Please keep K-9 Axel and Deputy Stuart in your thoughts and prayers,” KCSO said in the release.

The home invasion is still being investigated. The suspect has not been arrested but is not believed to be a threat to the public, officials say.