The oldest horse in the Baltimore Police Department's mounted unit died yesterday after apparently suffering a heart attack as he was backing up officers chasing a robbery suspect.
Yankee, a 19-year-old Gelding who joined the department in 1987, was pronounced dead at the corner of West Lafayette Avenue and McCulloh Street.
"He was the most senior working horse and probably had more arrests then any other horse in the unit," said Sgt. Michael Cassizzi. There are 16 horses in the unit.
Police said the incident began with a holdup of a corner grocery store in the 1400 block of Madison Ave. Sergeant Cassizzi said two mounted officers quickly arrested one man carrying a gun, and other officers on horseback chased a second man up an alley.
Yankee arrived just as the second suspect was being arrested. "He started to shake and go into convulsions," Sergeant Cassizzi said. "As his knees started to buckle, the officer hopped off."
Officer Robert Gerber, 28, who has ridden Yankee for two years, was not injured.