Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Officer Martin L. Ganz

Manhattan Beach Police Department, California

End of Watch Monday, December 27, 1993

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Officer Martin L. Ganz

My name is Steve Caros. I am a retired Manhattan Beach Police Officer, and I was on duty the night Roger Brady shot Marty Ganz. I want, correction; I need to reflect on a number of things regarding that night. I hope that some purpose beyond remembering what a good guy Marty was, will be served in my doing so. And I ask forgiveness for the length of my reflections.

Marty and I were close, the kind of close that a member of one generation is with a member of the up and coming younger generation. We did not hang out much off duty, but we very much did so on duty. It was very routine that Marty and I would talk before work in the locker room and at Code 7. We spoke of life, love, and the Vehicle Code. He was an extremely precise Officer, which brings up the first order of business;
That is to fix something that I am sure Marty would want fixed. Although Marty was the first Manhattan Beach Police Officer to be killed by gunfire, he was not the first MBPD Officer to be killed in the line of duty. This distinction has unfortunately been blurred many times over the past 25 years. Marty was the third Officer to be killed, and may God be gracious, the last.

The first Officer to die in the line of duty was Officer Charlie Grau. His death was doubly tragic because the City failed to recognize for years that his death was related to an on duty assault while handling a domestic dispute. Grau was struck in the head, but not until months later did he succumb to his injuries. It was over 40 years later that Officer Grau would be properly memorialized by the PD Administration. The current administration has kept this recognition moving forward and my hat is off to them.

The second Manhattan Beach Police Officer to die in the line of duty was Motor Officer Timothy Giles. I have been given two versions of what happened, but what is clear is that he was killed on his motor cycle while performing traffic enforcement.

And then 31 years later, there was Marty. At this point I wish to underscore what I learned in the Academy, what I taught all of my trainees, and what holds true today for all of you current officers; There can be grave danger found in simple domestic disputes, operating a police vehicle, and in making “routine” traffic stops. These three men clearly prove this. Please embrace this and go home safe!

Now specifically, I need to reflect on life and Marty Ganz’ fateful encounter. For me, things began a month before that night when I sought to persuade Sgt. Milligan to bend the rule of having to be 16 to ride along in a MBPD patrol car. My son was to be 12 in mid-December and I wanted to take him for a ride for his birthday. Mike granted me permission, and my son and I had a great evening.

Exactly two weeks later on December 27th, 1993 Marty greeted me in the locker room and cheerfully shared that he had his 12 year old nephew Don out from Florida, and he was going to get to ride along like my son had. Marty was our shift motor and to facilitate this ride, he parked his bike for the shift and checked out a Chevy. Thus the first “domino” fell.

That Monday night was REALLY cold and being after the Christmas weekend, was really quiet. In the vernacular, “nothing was moving”. After many hours of cruising around, I dropped by my house to say goodnight to my second son as ironically this was his birthday.

It seemed like there had been virtually no radio traffic all night and certainly none for the past hour. I didn’t know it yet, but the second domino had fallen. Marty was wanting very much to show his nephew some action, or at least some police work. He had spotted a little import that had stopped way over the “limit line” and determined to see if the driver was DUI. As the driver entered the mall, Marty directed him to pull over. Apparently, focused on the DUI and perhaps lolled by the quiet and the cold, Marty chose to forego broadcasting his traffic stop. The rest of the shift remained in quiet ignorance.

The third domino fell when what I describe as a bunch of garbage came out over the radio. At first it didn’t register as a neighboring agency had occasionally “cut up” on the air. Being on my “portable”, I thought it was more of that, and was therefore not alerted. It was Sgt. Milligan listening on the station speaker, and Officer Tim Zins listening on his unit radio that knew quickly that something was happening. More seconds would pass before anyone would know where. Sgt. Milligan then began interpreting over the air what was happening as two different citizens were hysterically calling for help. I believe the first was possibly Marty’s nephew.

Now I knew there was bad trouble, I just didn’t know where. I threw on my lights and siren and headed towards the center of town. Soon enough, I was on my way to the Mall, and one of the most chaotic scenes I would encounter as a Police Officer. I found Marty on the sidewalk and he was being looked after by someone, probably Tim Zins. I then went to work putting out the crime broadcast and the fourth domino fell. In all the confusion, what seemed like my best witness described the suspect as driving away in a big older full sized American made car. All wrong.

Even worse was the fifth domino. Ironically, Hawthorne PD had a DUI task force out with something like 10 extra cars in the field. What an opportunity. That opportunity was delayed when their frequency did not get the broadcast such as it was until minutes later. Therefore, Roger Hoan Brady escaped into the cold, quiet night to the falling of the sixth domino. A year later up in Oregon, he shot and killed a nurse (Catalina Correa) who was a witness in the course of a robbery by Brady. It was the same gun he used against Marty. Brady had also shot at another witness, but did not hit him.

Thus the casualty list would be two deaths and two very traumatized witnesses, particularly Marty’s nephew Don. But not just so, there were many, many more “casualties” or if you prefer, “victims” than these four to be revealed.

After putting out the broadcast, and then fetching Don out of the bushes lining the bank where he eventually had retreated. I went back to Marty. Viet Nam Veteran and MBFD paramedic Lance was now in charge of that part of the scene and was incredibly cool and personally brought a number of first responders back up from their shock to do their jobs. It was then that I turned to Fire Captain and close friend Ken Shuck and commented on what was happening. He turned to me and burst out in relief, “Oh Steve, I thought this was you”. (Due to trauma Marty could not easily be recognized). Just as suddenly, Ken realized there was no relief to be felt as this was still a MBPD Officer. Ken’s look of guilt for his initial reaction would be the first struggle with guilt and anxiety that I would witness for some time to come. Including my own…
As a Christian I know that we are to avoid “vain imaginations”, but it took some time to work out the “only ifs” and those six dominoes. Only if I had not sought permission to bend the ride along rule, only if Marty was not of the mind to take a car out, only if we would have been at one of his many code 7s (probably at McDonalds). We would have simply heard the call of a robbery go out, sped down Sepulveda, and ended up taking a basic report. Yeah, only if. But only if life were linear there wouldn’t be as much of a need for Police Officers.

And then there was the anxiety. As you can imagine the anxiety felt by the Ganz family, as well as those of us who knew Marty. But there was another kind of anxiety as well. I have never shared this in 25 years, but there was a sort of hyper tension that bordered on fear that followed for at least two days. Virtually all of us felt it, even those that weren’t on duty that night. The brass doubled us up into Adam (2 man) units, and for the most part kept us in the station for those two days. I was paired with one of the toughest guys in our department, and I remember sitting in the patrol car in the El Porto lot when he shared that he was feeling this anxiety. It helped to know that I was not the only one who was thinking, “if they could get Marty, they could get any of us”.

Yes, Marty was all the things said in these reflections. He was truly a good guy, and he was my friend and partner. I would love to tell you about the funny stuff he did at Sizzler Steak House and elsewhere, but that will have to wait for a day of happier reflections. On this 25th anniversary of that terrible night I have said what I needed to say, rather than what I wanted to say.

Yes, if only life were linear, if only he turned right instead of left, if only Marty had called a “10-31” (ice cream run) instead.
God bless you who still put on the badge. Please take to heart the words of this old retired FTO and do your best to avoid the falling dominoes. You need to go home safe. Safe for your families, for your coworkers, and for the rest of us who are so sad to watch the statistics climb each year.

Officer (ret.) Steve Caros
Manhattan Beach Police #200

December 28, 2018

R.I.P. Brother. Good thoughts and prayers for you, your family, and Department.

T. Milliman
LASD, Class #255

December 27, 2018

Rest In Peace Martin. Your dedication to service and sacrifice has not been forgotten. As a police explorer, I remember your tireless commitment and genuine kindness.

Arleen Franks-Elseroad
Buena Park Police Explorers

December 27, 2018

I remember when this happened.
Can't believe it's been 25 years.
Never forgot Officer Ganz's name.
So heartbreaking.
RIP

Anonymous
Grateful civilian

December 27, 2018

Thank you for protecting and serving. On the 25th anniversary, I am holding my boyfriend extra tight - he is a marine and police officer too. Thank you and Merry Christmas to you and the big man upstairs.

Sonia

December 27, 2018

Officer Ganz,
On today, the 25th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice-not just for your Community but for our Country as well when you served with the USMC. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Semper Fi Devil Dog!
A fellow LEO;former Marine

Anonymous
United States Border Patrol

December 27, 2018

You were our hero and our friend. Always in our hearts and never never forgotten.

Stephanie Robinson
Mother of LASD Sergeant

July 25, 2018

You are always remembered in the South Bay community and elsewhere for your sacrifice.

Deputy Sheriff LASD

December 27, 2017

Rest In Peace Brother. Thank you for your sacrifice and service.

Officer Mike Robinson, (Ret)
Upland Police Dept. CA

December 27, 2017

I Remember Officer Martin L. Ganz like it was Yesterday, Martin and I Attended The North Orange County Reserve Police Academy
(N.O.C.R.P.A. ) Class # 24 back in the early 80's

I Was So Shocked To Here About His Death ! I Will Never Forget About The Good Times We Had Riding Dirt Bikes In The Desert And Shooting Our H.K.'s .

Rest In Peace Officer Ganz Never Forgotten !!

Michael R. Jacobus
Homicide Detective ( Retired C.P.D. )

Homicide Detective ( Retired )
Chicago Police Department

June 10, 2017

I Remember Officer Martin L. Ganz like it was Yesterday, Martin and I Attended The North Orange County Reserve Police Academy
(N.O.C.R.P.A. ) Class # 24 back in the early 80's

I Was So Shocked To Here About His Death ! I Will Never Forget About The Good Times We Had Riding Dirt Bikes In The Desert And Shooting Our H.K.'s .

Rest In Peace Officer Ganz Never Forgotten !!

Michael R. Jacobus
Homicide Detective ( Retired C.P.D. )

Homicide Detective ( Retired )
Chicago Police Department

June 10, 2017

I served with Martin in the MWSS-472 at MCAS El Toro. He was an MP and I was in Crash Crew at the time. We were only acquaintances but I remember having a conversation with him shortly before he got killed. His death hit our unit hard and we were all deeply saddened. He really was a nice guy and easy to talk to. I have these images of his funeral, taps, the last conversation we had. You never really see anything like this coming until it does and when it does you never forget. Semper Fi Martin.

Reserve Deputy Bob Monticup
Orange County Sheriff's Department

January 19, 2017

I was working the Manhattan Beach PD position one day as a dispatcher and an emergency message from an MDC came across that I didnt recognize. So I called the unit and got no response. The hotline rang from the watch commander, he said it was Marty's unit that was in the evidence area. Scared the shit out of me. Miss you Marty.

South Bay Clear...Jeff

Jeff Moore
Director, Emergency Communications Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

March 27, 2016

I was a dispatcher at RCC, we dispatched for Manhattan Beach, among other agencies. Marty was a great guy, very likeable. When he came into dispatch he was always very likeable, funny and nice. I miss you brother now he's EOW.I went to the sentencing for his murderer, There was a sea of blue there. I miss you Marty. For those of you who still work the road, DO NOT FORGET TO CALL OUT YOUR STOPS, WE DONT KNOW WHERE YOU ARE WHEN YOU NEED HELP. AND WE DO CARE ABOUT YOU. Jeff Moore, former South Bay DUI Task Force dispatcher.

Jeff, RCC

Jeff Moore
Director, Emergency Communications Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

March 27, 2016

To the family, friends and co-workers of Officer Ganz -

My heartfelt condolences. The anniversary of his murder was just 8 or 9 days ago and I remember it like it was yesterday. I lived in Manhattan Beach at the time and frequented the shopping center in which that fateful event took place. I had just started my career in law enforcement with the U.S. Government and I chose to live in M.B. because I felt it was comparatively safe. I am now in the twilight of my career with more than 25 years of service and I have never forgotten the ultimate sacrifice that Officer Ganz made on what should have been a "routine" traffic stop.

Godspeed Officer Ganz...

Special Agent
U.S. Government, Pittsburgh, PA

January 5, 2016

I met Marty during DARE training in 1989 at the LAPD. Marty is one of the few officers whom I remember from that training. Marty was easy to befriend. I learned of Marty's death soon after he was killed; it was hard to believe that the only police officer I knew from Manhattan Beach at that time was gunned down.

Marty, you are always in my thoughts. RIP.

Tom Giugni, Captain - Retired
Fairfield Police Department

May 10, 2015

Always will remember Martin. Fun guy with a great attitude. Forever in my heart. Will always remember the Reserve Academy with him. Prayers to his family and friends. Great full your nephew was spared and ver sad that we lost a great officer and brother. You will never be forgotten ..... Linda

Linda Hammelman
Retired Parole Agent State of Ca.

April 29, 2015

My buddy(a retired Garden Grove Police Office like myself) were talking about a office involved shooting in another state when he brought up Officer Ganz's death. I did not recall it because I retired in 1987 but he was still on duty. I was a motor officer the last 5 years I was on duty. I feel bad that I didn't recall and felt I had to look up web site.
As a Viet-Nam Vet and a retired police officer I thank you for your service to God and Country.

Kenneth C. Collier
Garden Grove Police Dept. Retired

February 11, 2015

Martin, I do not know why but I thought of you tonight. I know you are an Angel in Heaven. The good old days Explorers and the Reserve Academy. I will always remember you and your great friendship. Linda

Retired Linda Hammelman-Beld
Friend and Retired Parole Agent

September 7, 2014

Hi Marty, I attended your 20 Year Memorial Service last night (you would have been proud) even after all these years you are still remembered. It was interesting seeing all the faces of young officers that were barley born when this tragedy occurred, it is so unfortunate they didn't have the opportunity to know you and what you stood for, your dedication to your work, family and friends. I have had the pleasure to have witnessed and been part of all three. I think of you often. I (now) play senior Soft Ball in MB, with #184 and the "Q" and every Thursday we walk by the plack in your memory, say a prayer and thank the Lord for having you in our lives for even a short period. You will not be forgotten, until we meet again 2M72

Officer Larry Munn, 2M72
Manhattan Beach Police Dept.

December 28, 2013

Thank you to everyone who posts here and keeps Ganz's story and memory alive. Your messages are read and appreciated by friends and family.

Please visit the new memorial webpage for Ganz.

Jon Schultz
Beach Cities Mustang Club

December 27, 2013

20 years now, but still not forgotten...RIP Marty

Jeff Moore
Former DUI TF dispatcher RCC

December 24, 2013

I was a security guard at the Manhattan Village Mall and not working on that horrible night. I learned a great deal from him during the short time that i knew him. He ALWAYS made an attempt to stop by the Security Office and talk with us. Marty also served in the Marine Corps with my wifes cousin (small world). I still drive through the mall and visit his memorial in front of the bank.

Darryl Everts
LASD

August 16, 2013

I served briefly with Martin in the Marine Corps. We were not close, but had a few good memories together and I had the honor of attending his funeral. He was such a nice person. A leader with a presence, but no ego... My two favorite memories of him were 1) talking the entire night with him in a fighting hole about life. He was the type of guy you could confide in after knowing him 5 minutes. 2) One of the SNCOs (Freeman) drawing whiskers and mustache on Martin's face with a black pen when Martin fell asleep on a flight. He just laughed with everyone else and went back to sleep. Its almost 20 years later, and it is still something I think about every December and on random nights like tonight at 2am on a Monday morning.

Semper Fi Marty...

Anonymous
Former Marine

August 5, 2013

Martin was such a nice guy, a genuinely good person. He loved his family very much and treated everyone he knew as if they were his family, too. Martin was my motor partner and we loved to ride together. His memory has been riding with me all these years. But i'm retiring next week and with only a couple people left here at the station who actually knew Martin, i think this is a good time for Martin to retire, too. So Martin and i say goodbye as we ride off into the sunset together. 2M73 and 2M75 (now 2S1) EOW on Dec. 28, 2012. Live every day of your life like it's the last!

Sgt. Mark Mason
Manhattan Beach Police Department

December 21, 2012

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