By Holly Matkin and Sandy Malone
Duluth, MN – Duluth Police Department K9 Luna died in the line of duty on Feb. 25 after being shot while trying to apprehend a gunman.
The incident began at about 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 25, when Duluth police officers responded to a domestic violence report at a home in the 2300-block of West 4th Street, KBJR reported.
When officers arrived at the residence, they found out that the suspect had a felony conviction on his record and was refusing to surrender.
Police sent in K9 Luna to apprehend the suspect but he opened fire on the dog, fatally wounding her, WCCO reported.
Officers returned fire and retreated from the house, according to WCCO.
None of the human police officers were injured, KBJR reported.
K9 Luna was transported to an emergency veterinarian for treatment but died shortly after she arrived at the clinic, WCCO reported.
The standoff lasted for 20 hours before the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension confirmed the gunman had been found dead inside the home, according to KTTC.
He has since been identified as 37-year-old David Joseph Wayne Conwell, the Duluth News Tribune reported.
K9 Luna, a three-year-old Dutch Shepherd, served the DPD for two years, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
She worked alongside her handler, DPD Officer Aaron Haller, the Duluth News Tribune reported.
“She’s been a great dog,” Officer Haller told the paper back in 2019. “At home, she’s very capable of turning the switch off. She’s very good with the kids and wife — she’s a lap dog basically. But then at work she’s totally different.”
Officer Haller’s former partner, K9 Haas, was fatally shot by a barricaded domestic violence suspect on Jan. 13, 2019, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
Dozens of dogs and approximately 100 law enforcement officers and community members gathered on Feb. 27 to honor K9 Luna during her procession to the Fur-Ever Loved Pet Cremation Services in Scanlon, the Duluth News Tribune reported.
Another group of supporters lines the streets of Scanlon, according to the paper.
Rest In Peace, K9 Luna. The Olmsted County Sheriff's Office would like to express our sympathies to her partner Officer Aaron Haller and the Duluth Police Department. K9 Luna was shot and killed in the line of duty last evening.#K9Hero pic.twitter.com/lwtQvZfbL3
— Olmsted Sheriff MN (@OlmstedSheriff) February 26, 2021
The Duluth Police Dept is mourning the loss of one of their, 4yr old K9 Luna. Luna was shot & killed last night while apprehending a domestic violence suspect. The suspect is still at large. Please keep the Haller family & dept in your thoughts & prayers. pic.twitter.com/z32nqDTIoS
— K9s of Valor (@k9sofvalor) February 26, 2021
Thank you to 12 year old Ellie who made organic dog treats for Luna's K9 friends here at the DPD! Your support means the world to us – thank you! pic.twitter.com/qHSnpUyqoo
— Duluth MN Police (@DuluthMNPolice) March 2, 2021
Seeing the family hit hard as I stood there today to pay my respects for K9 Luna’s procession. Thank you to the families of DPD. It was great to see so many of you today. https://t.co/vbLDzrHtBo
— Arik Forsman (@arik_forsman) February 27, 2021
Our thoughts and prayers are with Duluth PD and handler, Officer Haller at this time. K9 Luna was shot and killed by a suspect last night while keeping the officers and the community safe. Thank you for your service Luna! RIP 🐾❤️😥 pic.twitter.com/gJE2pQT9WN
— Bloomington Police (@BPD_MN) February 26, 2021
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Duluth Police Department and Officer Haller in the loss of K9 Luna.