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Hero Down: Virginia State Police K9 Duke Dies Of Heat Stroke While Tracking Suspect

Shenandoah County, VA – Virginia State Police (VSP) K9 Duke died in the line of duty on Aug. 30 after suffering heatstroke while tracking a suspect.

K9 Duke and his human partner, VSP Senior Trooper J.R, Lewis, responded to a location in Shenandoah County on Aug. 29 to help search for suspects involved in a hit-and-run crash, the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) said in a Facebook post.

During the track, K9 Duke became overheated due to the extreme heat and humidity.

“Trooper Lewis recognized that K-9 Duke was not his normal self and took him to the emergency vet,” the FCSO said. “K-9 Duke was admitted in serious condition and received fluids and blood transfusions overnight.”

The five-year-old German shepherd succumbed to his medical issues the following day.

“We are saddened to report that, despite his handler’s quick action and the efforts of the emergency vet staff, K-9 Duke was not able to recover from his illness,” the FCSO said in an update. “K-9 Duke crossed the rainbow bridge tonight, with Trooper Lewis and his family by his side.”

The beloved K9 was given “a hero’s escort” by multiple VSP K9 teams and various other K9 teams from jurisdictions across Virginia.

“Rest easy, Duke. We have the watch from here,” the FCSO said.

K9 Duke joined the VSP at the age of eight months, the VSP said in a Facebook post on Aug. 31.

“[He] was a beloved member of the Culpeper Division Area 12/Warrenton Office and was greatly respected for his support of and service to the Culpeper Division Tactical Team and entire Culpeper Division,” the VSP said.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Virginia State Police and Senior Trooper Lewis in the loss of K9 Duke.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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