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Law enforcement, community honor Minn. K-9 killed on duty

The 3-year-old Dutch shepherd joined the PD’s K-9 unit less than two years ago, just five months after her handler lost Haas, his former K-9 partner

Andee Erickson
Duluth News Tribune, Minn.

DULUTH, Minn. — Two years after a procession traveled through Duluth to honor the killed police dog Haas, law enforcement from around the region did the same again on Saturday, this time for K-9 officer Luna.

The 3-year-old Dutch shepherd joined the Duluth Police Department’s K-9 unit less than two years ago, just five months after her handler, Duluth police officer Aaron Haller, lost Haas, his former K-9 partner. Both dogs were killed while responding to reports of domestic violence.

An armed suspect, who has since been identified as David Joseph Wayne Conwell, shot and killed Luna after Duluth police responded to a domestic violence report Thursday night in Lincoln Park.

“She was really funny, very energetic, well behaved,” said Hannah Hadland, who had met Luna at an event.

Hadland, of Superior, was one of approximately 100 people and about two dozen dogs who lined West Michigan Street outside the Essentia Health Duluth Heritage Sports Center to view the beginning of the procession, which began at the BluePearl Pet Hospital and ended at Fur-Ever Loved Pet Cremation Services in Scanlon.

Hadland attended the procession with her own Dutch shepherd, Daisy, who sat and watched as more than 100 law enforcement and civilian vehicles drove past, including a hearse carrying Luna’s casket.

Barking was the only noise that carried down West Michigan Street as the motorcade passed through.

Many, like 10-year-old Westen Lancour of Duluth, held signs thanking Luna for her service.

“We want to show appreciation to Luna and we want to support police,” Lancour said.

Dawn and William Midbrod, both of Two Harbors, watched with their St. Bernard from the parking lot of the Lincoln Park Kwik Trip.

“Luna is a police officer. We care very about our law enforcement. They do so much to protect our community,” Dawn Midbrod said.

Kia Vann, of Lincoln Park, expressed sympathy for officer Haller.

“I can’t imagine being a dog owner and them protecting me and losing my dog twice,” Vann said.

Area fire engines parked on Interstate-35 overpasses outside Duluth to adorn the procession.

More supporters lined the streets in Scanlon. After arriving at the cremation services center, officer Haller and his family stood around an open casket as law enforcement officers in uniform and others paid their respects. The public watched from the road above. A bouquet of flowers and a rawhide bone lined the casket.

One person was seen fighting back tears while petting Luna through the blanket she was covered with.

“She’s been a great dog,” Haller told the News Tribune 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.”

Luna leaves behind two other Dutch shepherds in the Duluth Police Department’s K-9 unit, according to the Northland K9 Foundation website. Their names are Hondo and Riggs.

(c)2021 the Duluth News Tribune (Duluth, Minn.)