The Gwinnett County Medical Examiner’s Office is looking into what caused an unspecified medical emergency that resulted in the death of a police recruit Tuesday morning.

Gwinnett Police Officer Senior Hideshi Valle said Stockbridge resident Ronald Donat, 41, was a member of the Gwinnett County Police Department’s 112 Training Academy. Donat experienced the medical emergency that killed him during physical training in the first class of the day, at about 6:45 a.m., which prompted him to be taken to a local hospital.

“There were various physical activities this morning, to include running, pushups, pull-ups and several other exercises,” Valle said. “He had just completed the pull-up portion of the physical class (when he began experiencing issues).”

Gwinnett police lowered their flags to half-staff in Donat’s memory on Tuesday.

Donat is the only Gwinnett police recruit to have died during training, police officials said during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. He leaves behind a fiance and two children, to whom Gwinnett police have sent their condolences.

Counseling services is also being made available to the other recruits as well as instructors at the training center.

“It is an emotional time for Gwinnett County Police and the training staff and the recruits,” Valle said.

Valle said Donat became lethargic during the physical training, so the supervising staff instructed him to stop and rest. He tried continue with the training, but looked confused, according to the police spokesperson.

The training staff, including the police department’s EMT, then began life-saving efforts on Donat and contacted Gwinnett Fire and Emergency Services personnel. Fire medics took over the efforts to save the recruit’s life. The efforts taken to save him life at the scene included providing him with oxygen and performing CPR, according to Valle.

The fire medics then took Donat to a local hospital for further treatment, but he died at the hospital.

“Next of kin have been notified of Donat’s death and the cause will be determined by the Gwinnett Medical Examiner’s Office,” Valle said.

It is unclear what Donat’s medical history was prior to joining the police training academy, as Valle said that information was not immediately available on Tuesday afternoon. The police spokeswoman said all recruits undergo a medical evaluation and are cleared prior to starting in the academy.

“This was his second day on training,” Valle said. “He was a pre-recuit prior and they conducted his full activities prior to today. This was his second day as a member of this training class.”

Although Donat was in his 40’s, Valle said there is no set typical age range for police recruits going through the training academy. Donat did not have any prior law enforcement experience that Gwinnett police officials were aware of. They were not immediately sure during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon if he had any prior military experience.

Police are now looking at how to ensure what happened to Donat does not occur again.

“Moving forward, we will continue to evaluate our training standards and ensure that all recruits and pre-recruits follow their medical screening,” Valle said.

I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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