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Posted: Friday, June 27th 2014 at 6:53am

Off-duty officer was victim of Lanier drowning

By Bryan Pirkle Staff
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CUMMING - The Lawrenceville Police Department confirms that one of their officers is the victim of a Thursday night drowning on Lake Lanier.

Lawrenceville police Capt. Greg Vaughn identified the officer as 35-year-old Canon Callender.

Vaughn said he had been a Lawrenceville police officer for about four years.

According to Deputy Doug Rainwater with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, authorities were first notified that a swimmer was missing around 5:30 p.m. Rainwater said the call came from a group of people on an island near Lanier South Beach Road. The group reported seeing a man enter the lake and sink beneath the water, failing to resurface for a long period of time.

Multiple agencies responded to the scene.

“We immediately launched our boat,” Rainwater added, “…along with Hall County Fire and Rescue, who sent a boat, and the Department of Natural Resources [who also sent a boat].”

Rainwater said the missing swimmer was soon discovered to have been a part of the group that made the 911 call, a fact that initially escaped the other group members.

“They didn’t realize at first it was their friend that went under, until after they saw that his shoes and shirt was [sic] on the shore close to them,” he continued.

Search efforts were extensive, said Rainwater, with authorities also exploring a number of islands in hopes of finding the man alive and well.

“There are two small islands right here in Lake Lanier that a lot of people either take a boat to or kayak to, and he was with a group,” Rainwater explained. “Because of the two islands, we had to make sure that he didn’t double back and go to island they were not on.”

The search, which lasted for roughly an hour, came to a tragic end when authorities discovered Callender's body in the lake.

“At about 7:00 this evening, we did locate a body in the water near where the people said that the man went under,” Rainwater said.

Rainwater said an investigation continues.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News

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Gainesville, GA 30501
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