Sergeant Selwyn C. Adams

Sergeant Selwyn C. Adams

Detroit Police Department, Michigan

End of Watch Saturday, March 23, 1963

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Selwyn C. Adams

Sergeant Selwyn Adams was shot and killed with his own service weapon while making a traffic stop at the Russell off-ramp of Interstate 94. The man he stopped for speeding and reckless driving had been drinking after an earlier argument with his wife.

Sgt. Adams holstered his gun after he stopped the vehicle and noticed the suspect's one-year-old son strapped in the front seat of the car. The officer had the suspect hand over the car keys and exit the vehicle.

The suspect then began to struggle with Sgt. Adams and was able to obtain the officer's gun. He shot him the officer three times; killing him.

The suspect surrendered to police two hours later and was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. He served 17.5 years of a 19- to 55-year term when his conviction was overturned in 1981 on a technicality. He was released in 1982 and in 1983 he stabbed his wife to death and then fatally stabbed himself.

Sgt. Adams was survived by his wife, two sons, and a daughter.


  • Age 46
  • Tour 20 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Sentenced to 55 years; conviction overtu

traffic stop

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Rest in peace Sergeant Adams.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

February 26, 2022

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