South Bend, IN – South Bend Police Department Officer Donald "Don" Knabenshue died at his residence while on medical leave on Saturday.
“The South Bend Police Department is saddened to report that Officer Donald Knabenshue passed away over the weekend,” his department said in a Facebook post on Monday.
The agency confirmed that Officer Knabenshue had been on leave from the department for a medical issue, but did not disclose his cause of death.
“Don’s fellow officers and the City of South Bend send their heartfelt condolences and prayers to the Knabenshue family,” the post read.
Officer Knabenshue, 48, served the south Bend Police Department for over 22 years.
During his career, he worked as a patrol officer, K9 handler, and detective, the agency said.
As news of Officer Knabenshue’s tragic death spread, many people posted messages of support and condolences for his family and coworkers on social media.
“He was a great officer,” Kimberly Smith commented in response to the department's Facebook post. “He brought an older homeless woman [into] Top Notch Restaurant [and] bought her a meal and sat and talked to her.”
“So sorry to hear this,” Smith added.
“This officer changed my life,” wrote Nneka Harrison.
Officer Knabenshue was a lifelong resident of South Bend, and was proud to serve his community, according to his obituary.
“Don had a large circle of family and friends, and is best remembered for having a big heart and his willingness to help anyone,” his obituary read. “Don loved working with dogs as a former member of the K-9 unit and bomb squad. He opened his home to his police dogs.”
Officer Knabenshue leaves behind his father, Kenneth, his sisters, Ann and Jean, his brother, Paul, his nieces and nephews, and his dogs, Otis and Ike.
He will be laid to rest on Saturday.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of South Bend Police Department Officer Donald “Don” Knabenshue, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.