Sergeant Gerald James Riley

Sergeant Gerald James Riley

Detroit Police Department, Michigan

End of Watch Friday, December 8, 1972

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Gerald James Riley

Sergeant Gerald Riley was shot and killed while attempting to stop a bank hold-up in progress at 13043 West Seven Mile Road.

Sgt. Riley was off duty at the time of the incident. He was standing in line at the bank with his two-year-old child when he witnessed the robbery and attempted to act. As he pulled his revolver and ordered the robber to drop his gun, the robber's accomplice, whom he did not see, shot him. Sergeant Riley returned fire seriously wounding the robber whom he had told to drop his gun. Sergeant Riley then collapsed on the floor of the bank. As he lay helpless on the floor, the robber who had shot him walked over and shot him in the face in front of his child. Both suspects were apprehended after officers followed the trail of blood left in the snow.

The suspect who killed Sergeant Riley was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison on March 5, 1973. He received an additional 15 to 30 years for killing a security guard during a supermarket robbery. The other suspect was sentenced to 15 to 30 years.

Sergeant Riley was posthumously promoted to sergeant.

He had been a member of the Detroit Police Department for 10 years and is survived by his wife, daughter, and five sons - one of whom went on to become a police officer.


  • Age 39
  • Tour 10 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Sentenced to life

bank robbery, off duty

Most Recent Reflection

View all 32 Reflections

This page is really good to REFLECT on. It sometimes seems like yesterday when my father died. On this day, close to my fathers 85th birthday, there is almost never a day that goes by that I don't think of him.

Life is so precious and I believe that my dad's passing, so violently, has made a better life for others, it has for me.

My dad and especially my mother, gave us children a spark to enjoy our lives as much as we can. Embrace others and simply touch their lives with your spirit and smile. I think I have and I am a much better person for it.

Thank you dad for a life time of fun and happiness(oh sometimes sadness), even though our time together was fleeting...I still remember.

Your Loving Son,


John Riley

October 20, 2018

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