SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah -- It was a small gesture that made a big impact.
Two sisters reached out to a Unified police officer after their brother killed his K-9 partner during a search warrant in Millcreek three months ago. On Monday, the women presented Officer Luis Lovato a portrait of UPD K-9 Officer Aldo.
“He was at the peak of his career he knew exactly what his job was, he was very good at his job,” Lovato said.
But in the line of duty, Aldo's life was cut short. The K-9 officer made the ultimate sacrifice laying down his life to save his handler.
“I never thought I’d be in this position. I figured I'd retire Aldo as an old fat gray dog and one day I woke up and he was gone,” Lovato said.
During a search warrant in Millcreek in April, police say 36-year-old David Anderson shot Aldo after the K-9 found him hiding in a closet. Officers returned fire, critically wounding Anderson who later died at the hospital.
“That is a huge tragedy on so many levels. What does a community and what do people do with that kind of sorrow? There are many options available, one is anger one is resentment blame or frustration the other is forgiveness and mercy,” said Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder.
The latter option is what the Anderson family chose.
“There's enough people who are going to be angry about every little thing officers do and me and my sister discussed it and that's just not how our family is in general,” said Kristina Anderson, David Anderson’s sister.
Kristina Anderson reached out to Lovato days after the shooting. In her brother’s obituary she asked in lieu of flowers that donations be made to the UPD canine unit.
Monday she delivered a portrait of Aldo to express her appreciation of his sacrifice.
“We do appreciate them and we know they don't wake up in the morning wanting that to be the end result of any of their calls,” Kristina Anderson said.
The Anderson sisters hope this gesture gets both sides closer to closure.
For five years, Aldo was at Lovato's side and part of his family.
“As hard as it was to tell my children that Aldo had been shot the sheriff isn't telling my children that I had been shot. Aldo saved my life that night and he's a hero and he died doing why the loved to do and I’ll never ever forget that,” Lovato said.
Lovato plans to put the portrait next to all of Aldo’s trophies and plaques.