• Gwinnett police dog dies after chasing suspect in 90-degree heat

    By: Tyisha Fernandes


    GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - A police dog died in the line of duty and investigators say heat could be to blame.

    K-9 Officer Eli had served on the Gwinnett County Police Department for eight years. 

    The department told Channel 2’s Tyisha Fernandes that Eli loved being on the police force.

    “He was a police dog at work but he could be a family dog at home,” Gwinnett police spokeswoman Cpl. Michele Pihera said. 

    Eli and his handler, Officer Banano, lived and worked together for nearly a decade.

    “Eli was a member of his family,” Pihera said. 

    Snellville police and the DeKalb County Police Department asked Gwinnett officers on Thursday to help them track a suspect, so Banano took Eli to the scene.


    Police had gotten into a chase with a suspect in the area of North Crestview Drive and Grayson Parkway in Grayson. That’s where investigators brought Eli to help track the suspect down.

    “At no point was our K-9 actually tracking the suspect – meaning he wasn’t following his footsteps. We were just actively trying to see where he had last been,” Pihera said. 

    About 30 minutes later officers called off the search. That’s when Eli passed out and stopped breathing.

    Investigators said it looked like Eli was suffering from something related to the heat.

    Officers tried to give Eli water as they rushed him to a medical facility. Doctors performed CPR for 30 minutes but Eli did not survive.

    “He loved coming to work, he had that drive, and every time Officer Banano was ready to go to work, he was excited to go to work," Pihera said.

    Preliminary reports suggest that Eli died from something to do with the hot weather.

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