An 18-year-old Chicago Police horse was on patrol Monday along North Avenue Beach when he suddenly seized and died.
Officer Paul Casasanto kept a crowd of beach goers back as the horse began to rear and kick, trying to recover and regain control. The horse, named Mikey C. in honor of fallen Officer Michael Ceriale, died around 2 p.m.
"Not only is the loss of a police horse mourned here, but also a memory that we lose of a police officer who was killed in the line of duty," said Lt. Paul Bauer, the commander of the department's mounted patrol unit.
Another officer, Jason Ayala, was with Casasanto when the horse when down.
"That's when we realized there was an issue with the horse," Ayala explained Tuesday.
Bauer has been with the unit since 1994 and said Monday's death was only the second the department has had. Another horse passed away in 2003.
Veterinarians told Bauer that Mikey C. had a heart attack.
Casasanto told the Chicago Tribune that Mikey was like his family. After the horse passed, Casasanto removed the saddle and helped cover him with plastic.
The city of Chicago purchased Mikey, a retired racehorse, in 2003, according to the Tribune, and soon paired him with Casasanto on mounted patrol at local beaches and parks.
Domestic thoroughbreds commonly live between 20 and 30 years. No funeral or burial for Mikey C. will be performed.