Updated: February 27, 2021 10:36 PM
Created: February 27, 2021 06:42 PM
A powerful procession was held Saturday to honor the life and legacy of K-9 Luna.
Luna was shot and killed by a domestic assault suspect Thursday night during a 20 hour long stand-off with police in Lincoln Park.
“When a loss like this happens, it affects not only the handler, but the entire department and the entire community,” Ingrid Hornibrook, public information officer for the Duluth Police Department said.
Luna was escorted from BluePearl Emergency Pet Hospital in Lincoln Park to Fur Ever Loved Pet Cremation Services in Scanlon, during a procession down Interstate 35. Along the procession route, first responders from across the state lined the bridges. With every mile, there was a flag for Luna.
“It’s so nice to see so many area agencies come together to be here with us and to honor K-9 Luna,” Hornibrook said.
Luna was three years old at the time of her death. She joined the Duluth Police Department in June of 2019, just five months after K-9 Haas died in the line of duty.
Laura Kiehnbaum, a veterinarian at BluePearl Emergency Pet Hospital, worked to help save both K-9 Luna and K-9 Haas.
“Our condolences go out to Officer Haller and his family, as well as, the community for the loss of Luna,”Kiehnbaum said. “The courage that these K-9’s display is rare and beautiful and I think that to see all these people here today is just an amazing testament to the community.”
Both K-9 Luna and K-9 Haas belonged to Officer Aaron Haller. Officer Jeremy O’Connor, a fellow K-9 handler for the Duluth Police Department, spoke about the bond between a K-9 handler and his dog.
“It's a lot different when you have a partner in the squad car that comes home with you and is with you 24/7,” O’Connor said. “I mean, there's no breaks from each other. You work together, you're at home together, It’s a special bond. So, I can't imagine what Officer Haller is going through.”
Moving forward, Duluth City Council President Renee Van Nett, who represents the Lincoln Park area, said she is committed to ensuring the safety of her constituents.
“This is a beautiful place—a beautiful community and we do love and care about you,” Van Nett said.
Van Nett said she will work to keep constituents safe by spreading awareness, working to ensure good communication between law enforcement and the public and starting up Lincoln Park citizen meetings again.
“This community is where we build our families, our children. This is where we come from and where we grow together,” Van Nett said.
While Luna may be gone, her legacy will live on through the officers she protected and the people she inspired.
“I've seen her work and she was a phenomenal dog—just like all of our K-9's. It is amazing to watch them work,” O’Connor said.
Those who would like to donate to the Northland K-9 Foundation during this difficult time can do so here.