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Authorities say drowning victim was off-duty cop
Disappeared in water near Little Ridge Park
3WEB ambulance leaves
An ambulance leaves Little Ridge Park on Thursday night after the body of a swimmer was pulled from Lake Lanier. - photo by Jim Dean

EAST FORSYTH — A man who drowned Thursday night while swimming in Lake Lanier near Little Ridge Park has been identified as a 32-year-old off-duty Lawrenceville policeman.

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office said the body of Cannon Trent Callender, who also lived in Lawrenceville, was recovered about 7 p.m. in the same area of the lake where he had last been seen.

Callender, who was found in water about 10 feet deep and some 35 feet from the shore, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Divers with the Forsyth County Fire Department recovered Callender’s body after searching for about an hour.

Several visitors to the park, which is off Lanier Beach South Road, as well as people on a nearby island called 911 about 5:35 p.m. to report that a swimmer had started yelling for help before going under. 

Fire Division Chief Jason Shivers said the water in that area of the lake was clear and divers were aided by the good visibility.

Cpl. Eric Sanders with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources also credited bystanders with helping in the recovery. 

"In my years of experience, if you don't have a good location, the search area gets bigger and bigger, and it gets hard to find the victim" he said.

Sanders noted that it appeared Callender had “just parked here and went for a swim.”

Both he and Shivers cautioned against swimming alone in the lake.

"Never, ever swim alone, that should be a hard and fast rule for everyone," Shivers said.

Sanders agreed, noting that the man wasn’t far from shore or in deep water.

The search efforts also involved personnel from the Forsyth and Hall County sheriff’s offices.

Lawrenceville Police Capt. Greg Vaughn said Callender had been with the force for about four years.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.