On October 28, 1988, at about 1:30 am, Corporal Charles Smith and his K9 partner responded to Baltimore Avenue near Contee Road to assist patrol officers with a search for three suspects wanted for bailing out of a stolen car. The suspects were last seen running into a wooded area near the intersection. Corporal Smith and Pilgrim tracked the suspects into the wooded area. Moments later, one of the suspects jumped out of hiding and began running to a nearby ravine. Pilgrim ran after the suspect at which point he was separated from Corporal Smith. Corporal Smith immediately began searching for his K9 partner. When Pilgrim wasn't found, a massive, multi-jurisdictional search was launched. Several hours later when daylight broke, a police helicopter spotted Pilgrim's remains on a nearby railroad track. He had been struck and killed by a train while pursuing the suspect.
Pilgrim served the department for more than three years. He was the second K9 member of this agency to give his life in the line of duty. During his career, Pilgrim and his handler received 18 letters of commendation and were responsible for 87 criminal apprehensions. At the time of his death, Pilgrim was five years old.