Investigation continues into how patrol car turned itself off causing K-9 officer to overheat and die

Published 11:30 am Friday, September 13, 2019

More than a week after a Vicksburg Police Department’s K-9 vehicle malfunctioned, leading to the death of K-9 officer Thor, questions as to why the car unexpectedly shutoff remain unanswered.

Vicksburg Police Chief Milton Moore said Thursday the vehicle continues to be examined in hopes of understanding why the vehicle turned off, leaving Thor in the vehicle without air conditioning. In less than 30 minutes, Thor was reportedly exposed to overheating conditions Tuesday, Sept. 3, which lead to complications and his death the following morning.

“The Tahoe remains in the shop and we are still trying to determine why it shut off,” Moore said. “In fact, they left it running for a period of time and it shut off on them in the shop. We still do not know why.”

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Thor, one of the city’s two K-9 officers, died at Animal Medical Clinic. He was 8 years old and had served with the Vicksburg Police Department since 2012.

On Sept. 4, Mayor George Flaggs Jr., who also serves as the city’s police commissioner, ordered the department to suspend the use of any vehicle that did not have a sensor in the car. Sensors alert officers to an unexpected shutdown or loss of air conditioning.

Moore said the department has three K-9 vehicles, one of which was the Tahoe that malfunctioned. The other two vehicles, Moore said, have the sensor installed.

He also added that he had hoped to have replaced the 2009 Tahoe in recent years, but the department’s budget did not allow for it.

“I wanted to replace it because of its high mileage,” Moore said. “This was long before we knew of any issues that would have led to this tragic malfunction.”

With Thor’s death, the department is left with one K-9 officer. Caesar, who serves with Lt. Leonce Young, continues to work with the department.

Moore said another K-9 officer, named Barnes, is currently in training and is expected to join the department at the end of the month.