The Telegram
  • Police K-9 Ape being honored with statue

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  • HERKIMER — A life-sized statue is being created to honor a local hero — Ape, the FBI tactical K-9 who was killed in the line of duty during a deadly Herkimer County shooting spree in March.
    Herkimer native Felecia Scialdone-Burchett reached out to Herkimer Police Sergeant Jody Wheet about creating a bronze sculpture in memory of the German shepherd.
    “She’s an animal lover,” Wheet said of the artist. “Being originally from the area, she wanted to give back to the community and this is her way of giving back.”
    Four people were killed, and two others critically injured, on March 13 when gunman Kurt Myers opened fire at two locations in Mohawk and Herkimer.
    Ape was shot the next day, as law enforcement officers attempted to end a 19-hour standoff. Officers then returned fire, killing Myers.
    Wheet is a team leader for the Herkimer Police Special Response Team helping to coordinate a community memorial for the victims of the incident. The design has yet to be finalized and approved by the village board, but Scialdone-Burchett is already working on her part.
    The artist began making the sculpture from her Arizona home this summer. The statue will rest on a granite base inscribed with the names of agencies that assisted in protecting and serving the Mohawk Valley during the shooting spree.
    “I wanted to do this for my community,” she said. “Herkimer is my home, away from home.”
    The bronze, life-sized sculpture does not come at a small price, however.
    “It’s really expensive. Just for the mold is between $8,000 and $10,000,” Scialdone-Burchett said. The total cost of creating, bronzing and then transporting the sculpture will cost around $25,000.
    To help pay for the project, she’s turned to Kickstarter, an online funding platform for creative projects. A little more than $470 had been pledged as of Thursday. But Scialdone-Burchett is hoping for more pledges before the campaign closes on Dec. 20.
    To learn more about the project or to make a donation, visit www.kickstarter.com and search for “K9 Ape.”
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